After less than a day of deliberation, jurors find Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges over George Floyd’s death
The jury returned guilty verdicts of second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter
Barack and Michelle Obama welcomed the verdict but warned ‘true justice’ is more than one trial
President Joe Biden has called the Floyd family and will make remarks shortly
The former police officer was filmed kneeling on Floyd for over nine minutes during his arrest last May
The video footage led to protests in the US and around the world over police use of force against minorities
It is rare that US police are convicted of murder and this high-profile trial has been seen as a watershed in race relations
Chauvin’s defence argued that drugs and poor health caused Floyd’s death
But the prosecution urged the jury to believe what they saw in the video
When will Chauvin be sentenced?
Now that he’s been convicted, Derek Chauvin faces sentencing, which is expected in eight weeks.
As Chauvin has no prior convictions, Minnesota guidelines suggest he will probably be sentenced to just over 12 years in prison.
But prosecutors could argue for a longer sentence – up to 40 years – if presiding Judge Peter Cahill says that there are “aggravating factors”.
In Minnesota, inmates are generally allowed to leave prison on supervised release after serving two-thirds of their sentences.
Nancy Pelosi thanks Floyd for his ‘sacrifice’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has weighed in, thanking George Floyd for “sacrificing your life for justice”.
“Because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous for justice,” the top Democrat said at a press conference.
Pelosi’s remarks were quickly criticised on Twitter and described as tone deaf. “Listening to Nancy Pelosi, you’d think George Floyd voluntarily died…” wrote one user.
“Nancy Pelosi’s take is awful and tone deaf,” said writer Randi Singer on Twitter. “George Floyd didn’t ‘sacrifice’ his life. He was not a solider who died in battle. He was an American citizen murdered by a cop.”
Minnesota governor: ‘Important step forward for justice’
When Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd last May, Minnesota’s governor Tim Walz ordered lawmakers to convene special sessions on police reform and later signed reforms into law.
On Tuesday, it was Walz again – only two years into his term – calling in the National Guard in anticipation of potential rioting after the Chauvin verdict.
In a statement posted to social media, the Democrat wrote: “Today’s verdict is an important step forward for justice in Minnesota. The trial is over, but our work has only begun.”
Arguing that “true justice” can only come through systemic reforms, Walz said “accountability in the courtroom is only the first step”. “Let us continue on this march towards justice,” he concluded.
Biden calls family
We reported earlier that President Joe Biden had spoken with George Floyd’s family on Monday evening, and heard today that the president was “praying for the right verdict”.
Now, attorney Ben Crump has confirmed the president called the Floyd family right after the verdict.
Crump shared the exchange in a video posted to Twitter. We’ve also just heard from the White House that both Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris will deliver remarks on the verdict later this evening.
‘Verdict is not justice, but is accountability’
Minnesota’s top law enforcement officer Keith Ellison led the case on behalf of the state. Speaking now at a news conference, Attorney General Ellison says: “I would not call today’s verdict justice because justice implies restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice.”
He said his team of prosecutors had “pursued justice wherever it led” with the intent to convict Derek Chauvin “to the fullest extent, as the law allowed”.
Ellison expresses his gratitude to the family of George Floyd for showing dignity, even though they “had to relive again and again the worst day of their lives”. “This verdict reminds us how hard it is to make enduring change,” he says. “We must make enduring systemic societal change.”