Nearly one year after George Floyd's killing in May 2020, the verdict in Derek Chauvin's trial has finally been released. On April 20, the former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Elite Daily reached out to representatives of Chauvin for comment, but did not receive an immediate response. Following the announcement, many people are using Twitter as an outlet to express their emotions about the situation — and these tweets about the Derek Chauvin verdict all talk about how shocked they are to feel so relieved.
Chauvin's guilty verdicts on all three charges is a historic moment in Americans history, as it marks one of the first times in recent years that a police officer accused of killing a Black person has been convicted for the killing. Chauvin will be held without bond as he awaits his sentencing, which could amount to decades behind bars. State prosecutors have requested a lengthier sentence for Chauvin, per The New York Times, citing aggravating factors including the fact that Floyd was killed around children, that Floyd was treated with "particular cruelty," and that Chauvin "abused his position of authority."
Per CNN, Chauvin's legal defense team used three main arguments to try and obtain an acquittal: "Floyd died due to drug and health problems, Chauvin's use of force was ugly but appropriate, and a hostile crowd of bystanders distracted Chauvin." Prosecutors argued Chauvin used "excessive and unreasonable force" against Floyd, using videos of Chauvin's actions, analysis from policing experts, and medical testimonies to bolster their case. Chauvin himself didn't testify in his trial, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination on April 15.
Elite Daily reached out to Chauvin's legal team for a comment, but did not receive an immediate response. Following the announcement, people all over the internet have taken to Twitter to express their shock and relief — and how troubling it is that they were so shocked to be relieved. Many added that while it was good to see accountability, there's still much work to be done toward achieving true justice.
On May 25, 2020, Floyd was killed in a police-related incident after a store clerk alleged he tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase. His arrest and subsequent killing was caught on a widely-shared video. Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrived on the scene to arrest Floyd, restrained him by kneeling on his back for a total of nine minutes and 29 seconds, during which Floyd repeatedly stated that he couldn't breathe. The video of his death was shared on social media and via news outlets, and sparked global protests calling for an end to excessive police violence against Black communities.
Weeks before Chauvin's trial even began, Minneapolis city officials began fortifying security measures by carrying out "Operation Safety Net" — a plan intended to quell "damage to property and crimes," and ensure "First Amendment constitutional rights for those who wish to peacefully gather, assemble and demonstrate," according to a March 1 statement from Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Ramped up security measures include barbed wire and barricades around the courthouse where Chauvin was tried, as well as an increase in police and National Guard presence.
"I would not call today's verdict justice," said Keith Ellison, Minnesota's attorney general, during a press briefing following the verdict. "Because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step toward justice."