After several weeks of arguments, less than 24 hours of deliberation, and more than a year since the killing of George Floyd, the country has a verdict. On April 20, Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with killing Floyd, was convicted on all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second degree-manslaughter. Elite Daily reached out to representatives of Chauvin for comment on the result, but did not immediately hear back. When the result was announced, the crowds waiting for the verdict erupted in cheers, and videos of the response to Chauvin's conviction show just how significant this moment really was.
Chauvin was on trial for his role in the death of Floyd, a Black man killed by police in May of 2020. Chauvin, then a member of the Minneapolis Police Department, was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd's death, along with the deaths of other Black people in America including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, among too many others, sparked a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police brutality around the country in the summer and fall of 2020.
With the verdict in the Chauvin trial expected to come out in the third week of April, many police departments and municipalities prepared for a resurgence of protests. In Minneapolis and many major cities, authorities put up barricades and boarded up businesses, reinforcing the largely false idea that anti-racist protesters are violent. But with the announcement that Chauvin had been convicted on all three charges, the reaction of crowds became jubilant, not angry, that some small measure of justice had been achieved. While many found themselves shocked to be so relieved at the guilty verdict, many celebrated — and the expected protests turned into a moment of communal relief.
Videos showed the moment when the crowds gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial had been held, and at George Floyd Square learned of the guilty verdicts.
While the celebration and relief were obvious, many pointed out that Chauvin's conviction in Floyd's killing did not solve the problems — such as police brutality and white supremacist culture — that had led to Floyd's death in the first place. "The jury's verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd. Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person," Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a tweet.
"True justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial," wrote former President Barack Obama in a statement released on Twitter. "While today's verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one."
Following the verdict, Chauvin had his bail revoked and remained in custody. He will be sentenced in the coming weeks.
More to come...