Protesters in Minneapolis cheered Tuesday after a jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of all three counts in the death of George Floyd, whose killing last year re-ignited a nationwide movement calling for police reform and racial justice. An attorney for Floyd’s family called the verdict “painfully earned justice.”
The jury, which consisted of six White people, four Black people and two multiracial people, convicted Chauvin of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, applauded the decision.
“Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world,” Crump said. “This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”
The union representing Minneapolis police officers said Tuesday that it respects the jury’s decision, and understands the “enormous burden” it faced in reaching a verdict.
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis called for an end to “political pandering” and “divisive comments,” but told Minneapolis residents that the federation “stands with you, and not against you.”
Later on Tuesday, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris commended the jury’s decision.
“Today’s verdict is a step forward,” Mr. Biden said, adding. “Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back — but this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
A growing number of lawmakers also expressed relief and gratitude in response to the verdict. Congress has taken up police reform legislation, but disagreements over certain provisions have led the measures to stall.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the verdict “serves as an official proclamation of what so many of us have known for nearly a year: George Floyd was murdered by an officer who was sworn to protect and serve.”
“We should not mistake a guilty verdict in this case as evidence that the persistent problem of police misconduct has been solved or that the divide between law enforcement and so many of the communities they serve has been bridged,” Schumer said. “We must remain diligent in our efforts to bring meaningful change to police departments across the country. The Senate will continue that work as we strive to ensure George Floyd’s tragic death will not be in vain.”