Guilty on all three charges. Black Americans sighed and cried in relief as the Judge read the unanimous verdict.
The jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial reached a verdict after only 10 hours of deliberation. 12 jurors made up of seven women and five men including only four Black Americans decided Chauvin’s fate. Chauvin pled not guilty to all charges. He was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin invoked his fifth amendment rights and never testified. Chauvin kneeled on the neck and back of George Floyd for over 9 minutes until his death. The entire horrific ordeal was recorded by multiple bystanders.
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. Following the verdict, the family of George Floyd issued a statement through their attorney saying,
“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. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America. 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. We thank Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team for their fierce dedication to justice for George. But it does not end here. We have not forgotten that the other three officers who played their own roles in the death of George Floyd must still be held accountable for their actions, as well.”
Governor JB Pritzker released the following statement following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
“No courtroom can ever replace a life, but it can and should deliver justice. Today, the jury in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial honored that truth. “My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, who deserve to have him alive today. I’m also thinking of all our Black communities and other communities of color who see their children or their parents or themselves in George Floyd, and Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo, and Breonna Taylor, and Laquan McDonald.
“This verdict marks an important milestone on the journey to justice, but the fullest measure of progress is how we deliver accountability, safety and meaningful change. “In Illinois, we are addressing law enforcement reform, criminal justice reform, economic opportunity, educational equity and health care. “We can and must make progress every day until we have a state and a nation and a justice system that truly serve everyone. And as long as there’s more work to be done, that’s what we’ll do.”
Speaker Welch’s also issued a statement saying, “Today, after 11 months, we have finally received a verdict that suggests we may have some common sense of justice. While it’s important to have faith in the future of our own humanity, it should not have taken George Floyd losing his life, Gianna Floyd losing her father, for our hearts and minds to change. Nonetheless, we are here, and Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder by a jury of his peers. There’s nothing to celebrate, though, as a system that allows this to happen still prevails. This year our legislature passed historic police reform, and we will continue to build on that. Simply put, our work here continues and we’re going to make sure our policies in Illinois value Black lives.”
Now a convicted murderer, the judge revoked his bail and ordered him to jail pending sentencing. Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced in eight weeks.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.