After deliberating for just over 10 hours, the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin found the former Minneapolis police
officer guilty for the murder of unarmed Black man George Floyd last May.
Chauvin—who was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter—was
found guilty on all counts. His sentencing is scheduled in eight weeks.
The verdict by the 12 jurors—six white and six Black or multiracial—followed three weeks of testimony by dozens of
witnesses and hours of video footage of Floyd's final minutes of life. Chauvin, who invoked the Fifth Amendment, did not
In closing statements on Monday, prosecutor Steve Schleicher implored
the jury to use "common sense."
"What you saw, you saw," he said. "This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that
Schleicher added that Chuavin "had to know" that Floyd's life was in danger, yet continued pinning him to the street for
over nine minutes "with the unyielding pavement beneath him, as unyielding as the men who held him down."
Speaking to reporters outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis after the verdict, Floyd's girlfriend
Courteney Ross—who delivered emotional testimony during the first week of the trial—said
that "this is a huge day for the world."
"We're finally starting to see," she said. "We walked around with eyes wide shut for a long time, so they're starting to
open today, and this is going to be the first in a future of change. For me, it means that my friends and people that
have also lost loved ones now have a chance to get their cases reopened."
Ross added that Floyd "brought change."
"He changed my world. He changed the world. He changed everybody," she said.
Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell said at a Tuesday evening press conference that "no verdict can bring George Perry
Floyd back to us, but this verdict does give a message to his family that he was somebody, that his life mattered, that
all of our lives matter. And that's important."
"I also hope that this verdict... will help us further along the road toward a better humanity," he added.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said at the press conference that "it's time to transform the relationship
between community and the people who are sworn to protect them from one that is mistrustful, suspicious—and in some case
terrifying—into one that is empathetic, compassionate, and affirming."
"That will benefit everyone, including police officers, who deserve to serve in a profession that is honored," he added.
Civil rights advocates said that the verdict is but one step in the direction of racial justice.
Just before the verdict was announced, the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights said in a statement that "a
guilty verdict on its own will not deliver the kind of justice that will truly keep our communities safe."
"Since the Chauvin trial began on March 29, cops have killed an average of three people each day, and more than half of
the victims are Black and Latinx," the group said. "Protestors marching in the wake of the deaths of Daunte Wright and
Adam Toledo were met with police wielding assault rifles, tear gas, and military-grade protective gear."
"The Chauvin trial has not stopped the now-familiar cycle of police committing harm, then responding to demands for
justice with more violence," it added. "The conviction of Derek Chauvin will not prevent police violence."
Rashad Robinson, president of the advocacy group Color of Change, said
in a statement that the "fight for racial justice continues."
"Nine minutes and 29 seconds will forever be supplanted in our hearts and memory," said Robinson, referring to the
amount of time Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck. He continued:
Now we must look at the road ahead. Our fight for racial justice continues as we fight to fundamentally alter a system
that continues to threaten, harm, and kill Black people. So we use this moment to push for real change because the fight
for accountability and justice in America is far from over. The Chauvin trial may be over, but what comes next will be
the consequential moment in our history. We need to do more than raise our voices; we must demand action now.
In the hours before the verdict was announced, protesters outside the courthouse chanted "Black Lives Matter" and other
slogans as some of the more than 3,000 National Guard troops deployed
to the Twin Cities area stood by barriers and barbed wire.
The verdict came amid a wave of public outrage over the police killings of unarmed Black and Latinx men and boys,
including Daunte Wright
in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota and 13-year-old Adam Toledo
, who had his hands raised in the air when he was shot by a Chicago police officer.