After some jury pool controversy, two weeks of hearings, numerous witnesses, and 12 hours of deliberation we know now that Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of all three charges against him for the murder of George Floyd, second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Here is a heartbreaking video of George Floyd’s family watching justice manifest from their living room.
Cable news legal experts all immediately commented about how surprising it was that a verdict came back so quickly as deliberations for a murder case can often take several days if not weeks. From the moment that news broke, you could practically hear the collective gasps of Black Americans as we prepared ourselves for the very worst. We know that we couldn’t reasonably expect a guilty verdict. We’ve seen plenty of Black folks killed on video. Not nearly enough cops in prison for it.
Congresswomen Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley share a tearful embrace upon receiving the news of a guilty verdict.
There was some drama yesterday as Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson attempted to get a mistrial citing comments from public figures like Maxine Waters who called for protesters to be “more confrontational” in the face of injustice. Nelson also attempted to charge prosecutor Jerry Blackwell with misconduct for characterizing the defense as “shading” the facts and “telling stories” during his closing argument. Judge Cahill threw that argument to the wolves and denied the motion.
Just as a reminder, here is the racial breakdown of the 12 jurors who decided Chauvin’s fate. Half of the jury is white, four white women and two white men. There are three Black men, one Black woman, and two people who identify as mixed-race. Not for nothing, it’s pretty impressive that there are at least four Black people on the jury considering that we make up 13.8% of the Hennepin County population according to the 2019 Census.
George Floyd’s family has released a statement about today’s vindication:
“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.”
We are relieved that George Floyd and his family actually received justice and we hope that Derek Chauvin is sentenced to the harshest possible sentence when Judge Cahill bangs his gavel for the second time.
If you’re planning to go outside and “celebrate” please, please, please be careful. There will undoubtedly be cops who want nothing more than the slightest reason to get some revenge for their bacon-wrapped brother in blue.