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After a two-week trial, former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges Tuesday, after a jury found him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd.
The former Minneapolis officer, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes last May, now faces up to 40 years in prison.
In the early days of the trial, the jury heard MMA fighter Donald Williams explain that he told Chauvin that he had Floyd in a “blood choke.” The following days featured statements from the teen who filmed the video of Floyd’s death, a convenience store worker who felt guilty following Floyd’s death, Floyd’s girlfriend, and a police lieutenant who said Chauvin’s actions were “totally unnecessary.”
Scientists and experts took the stand later on, such as an LAPD use-of-force-expert, Jody Stiger, who said Floyd “was not attempting to resist.” A Pulmonologist, Dr. Martin Tobin, also took the stand, explaining that Floyd “died from a low level of oxygen,” and that his respiratory rate did not point to fentanyl as being his cause of death.
Toward the later days in the trial, Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd took the stand, as Chauvin himself later on invoked the fifth amendment and did not take the stand.
After the guilty verdict was announced, it felt like there was a collective exhale all across the country. And while no one is deluding themselves that today’s verdict means the system is fixed, many people, including President Joe Biden, acknowledged that it was at least a small step in the right direction.
“Today’s verdict is a step forward,” the president said in an address to the nation alongside Vice President Kamala Harris. “ … Nothing can ever bring their brother or their father back, but this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America. Let’s also be clear, that such a verdict is also much too rare … This is a time for this country to come together, to unite as Americans. We can never be any safe Harbor for hate in America. I’ve said it many times. The battle for soul of this nation has been a constant push and pull for more than 240 years, a tug of war between the American ideal that we’re all created equal, and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart. At our best, the American ideal wins out.”
Biden and Harris also called Floyd’s family after the Minneapolis jury found Chauvin guilty of murder.
Here’s what those on social media, ranging from activists to notable public figures, had to say about the guilty verdict.