The nation reacted Tuesday after a panel of jurors found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges in connection with the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
Chauvin, 45, was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
President Biden and Vice President Harris addressed the verdict from the White House and said the decision could be a “giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
“It ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism,” Biden said. “Systemic racism — a stain on our nation’s soul.”
Harris thanked the jury, and the Floyd family, saying the verdict brought “a sigh of relief” but “cannot take away the pain.”
“A measure of justice is not the same as equal justice,” Harris said. “This verdict brings us a step closer and the fact is we still have work to do. We still must reform the system.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called for peace and healing, according to a statement posted on Twitter by journalist Tony Webster. Chauvin had served on the city’s force.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the jurors on this case for their immense responsibility and honorable civic duty,” Arradondo said. “The verdict has been read and I respect the process and the decision.”
“We recognize that our community is hurting, and hearts are heavy with many emotions. However, I have hope,” he continued.
Gov. Tim Walz called Chauvin’s conviction “an important step forward for justice in Minnesota.”
“We must rebuild, restore, and reimagine the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Walz said. “We must tackle racial inequalities in every corner of society— from health to home ownership to education. We must come together around our common humanity.”
Mayor Jacob Frey called Tuesday a “good day in Minneapolis.”
“But let me be exceedingly clear: This is day one,” Frey said during a press briefing just hours after the verdict was announced.
Brandon Williams, the nephew of George Floyd said Tuesday was “a pivotal moment for America.”
“It’s something this country has needed for a long time now,” he said, according to the Star Tribune. “We need each and every officer to be held accountable. And until then, it’s still scary to be a Black man and woman in America encountering police.”
Reverend Al Sharpton said the verdict “gives us the energy to fight on.”
Celebrities and athletes also reacted to the verdict on social media.
NBA star LeBron James wrote a single world “Accountability.”
Oprah Winfrey tweeted a photo of a young Floyd, saying she was relieved, emotional, and “cried tears of joy as each verdict was read.”
It took the jury about 10 hours and 20 minutes to reach a decision, which was read late in the afternoon in a city on edge regarding the possibility of more unrest like that that erupted last spring.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after Chauvin held his knee against his neck or upper body for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Floyd, who was handcuffed at the time, repeatedly said that he could not breathe.
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