In a milestone verdict, former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, 45, was charged with murder and manslaughter by the jury on Tuesday almost a year later when he brutally killed George Floyd, an African American man, on 25 May 2020. Mr Floyd's death instigated the "Black's lives matter" protest across the world against racial injustice on a scale which the country had not experienced since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Justice For Floyd, Victory For Racial Equality
A 12 member, racially diverse jury announced Chauvin to be guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter after reviewing three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including the bystanders, police officials, and medical experts. The jury deliberation lasted 10 hours, and Chauvin is facing a potential 40-year jail sentence. Mr Chauvin, a white veteran of the police force, was filmed kneeling on George Floyd for over 9 minutes. Chauvin, along with three officers, were attempting to arrest Floyd, accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store. The other three officers are charged with aiding and abetting murder in the second degree. The verdict led to a sense of relief and reflection around the globe.
A crowd gathered outside of the courthouse which erupted into cheers after the announcement. Cars were honked, demonstrators impeded the traffic, and chanted "George Floyd". In a similar fashion, at George Floyd square in Minneapolis the very intersection where George Floyd was killed and which was later named after him, witnessed the celebration as people screamed, applauded, and threw bills in the air. Mr. Floyd's brother, Philonise, speaking to CNN, described sitting in the courtroom listening to the verdict as, "a moment I would never be able to re-live, I will always have inside of me." Philpnise Floyd talked about his faith as he grappled with his emotions and listed the names of other victims of police violence. "We are able to breathe again," he said but also asserted that this is not over, "We have to protest because it seems like this is a never-ending cycle," said Floyd according to Reuters.
The trial was televised, and the judge revoked Mr Chauvin's bail for $1 million and sent him to custody, handcuffed. The verdict was welcomed in Washington DC. Here is what they said.
"Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing. But if we're honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial," Mr Obama, Former President Of the USA.
"America has a long history of systemic racism," she said, adding that Black people have been treated as "less than human" throughout their history. "Black men are fathers, and brothers, and sons, and uncles, and grandfathers, and friends, and neighbours. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our health-care system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal justice system, in our nation," Ms Harris added.
"It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism. This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America." President Joe Biden said