On April 20, 2021, former Minneapolis police officer
Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd nearly one year after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. After a three-week trial calling 45 witnesses to the stand, the jury found Chauvin guilty on three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020 in south Minneapolis. On June 1, 2020, both an independent autopsy and a county autopsy by the Hennepin County medical examiner ruled
George Floyd’s death a homicide. Floyd’s murder spurred a series of racial justice protests around the world, as people took to the streets to demand racial justice and an end to police brutality. As the trial was underway, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was fatally shot by former police officer Kimberly Ann Potter, just miles from the courthouse, on April 11. And nearly 20 minutes before the Chauvin verdict was announced, Ma’Khia Bryant, a teenage girl, was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio.
In the wake of the guilty verdict, 19 activists, politicians, and Floyd’s family share powerful words reflecting on the tragedy and looking ahead for next steps.
1 Gayle King, CBS This Morning
“I have to tell you when the verdict was read… we started hearing horns honking. I think you felt jaws dropping. I think people thought maybe you would get one,
but to get all three I think is a very stunning thing.” — Gayle King, on CBS This Morning. 2 Terrance Floyd, George Floyd’s Brother
"My family is a family that will not back down from prayer. And I believe because of prayer, we got the verdict we wanted. We got on our knees. We said, God, we need justice, we need it now. And he answered.
I'm just grateful." — Terrance Floyd, in a public statement to the press. 3 Charles McMillian, Bystander & Prosecution Witness
"Everybody gotta work on change. The whole world gotta work on change … George send a message for change, and if we don't do it together nothing's going to never happen — Charles McMillian, on
CBS This Morning. 4 Angela Harrelson, George Floyd’s Aunt 5 Ben Crump, Floyd Family Attorney 6 Darnella Frazier, Bystander Who Filmed George Floyd’s Murder
"I just cried so hard. This last hour my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious, anxiety bussing through the roof. But to know GUILTY ON ALL 3 CHARGES !!! THANK YOU GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
George Floyd we did it!! justice has been served.” — Darnella Frazier, on Instagram. 7 Brandon Williams, George Floyd’s Nephew
“What I saw
today is a pivotal moment, it's a chance for America to take a turn in the right direction and right a lot of wrongs … so that we don't keep adding to these names." — Brandon Williams, in a statement to reporters. 8 Gwen Carr, Mother Of Eric Garner
“I watched the verdict in my house with two TVs on. Tears starting falling from my eyes. I know [Eric Garner’s] presence was there, he was jumping with me. [George Floyd’s murder] was like an echo from the grave. But there is one big difference — they did get justice. It’s a piece of justice for us all. I say,
my son didn’t die in vain, he set the precedent for this day to happen.” — Gwen Carr, on CBS This Morning. 9 Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s Brother
“I’m going to
put up a fight every day because I’m not just fighting for George anymore. I’m fighting for everybody around this world.” — Philonise Floyd, in a public statement to the press. 10 Rodney Floyd, George Floyd’s Brother 11 Tim Walz, Governor Of Minnesota
“We must rebuild, restore, and reimagine the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
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.” — Governor Tim Walz, in a public statement on Twitter. 12 Jeanelle Austin, George Floyd Square Caretaker
"It’s important that we remember the story correctly. ... One, that a man was lynched in our community; two, that it was a city employee on city time who did it; three, that the community came together and said, 'Not in our backyard’ and we also recognize that there are conditions in the context of our community that led to this incident, and we want those addressed."” — Jeanelle Austin, on
CBS This Morning. 13 Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, CBS News Contributor & Antiracist Scholar
“I’m thinking that the idea that it's ‘impossible’ to convict a white police officer who
indeed murdered a Black American could be possible now, but I think we have a long way to go before it becomes probable or likely when the evidence substantiates it.” — Ibram X. Kendi, on CBS This Morning. 14 President Biden
“Let’s also be clear, that
such a verdict is also much too rare. For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors, a brave young woman with a smartphone camera, a crowd that was traumatized, traumatized witnesses, a murder that lasts almost 10 minutes in broad daylight for ultimately the whole world to see, officers stay standing up and testifying against a fellow officer instead of just closing ranks, which should be commended. A jury who heard the evidence, carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment, under extraordinary pressure. For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver a just, just basic accountability.” — President Joe Biden, in an address after the trial. 15 Vice President Harris
the truth about racial injustice. It is not just a Black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all, and it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential. We are all a part of George Floyd’s legacy, and our job now is to honor it and to honor him.” — Vice President Kamala Harris, in President Biden’s address. 16 Kwame Alexander, NPR’s Poet-In-Residence
“It's that this is a
great first step, but it's a small step. The jury — they knew that the country would burn if they got this wrong. It's the feeling that this judge better not give him a cakewalk sentence either. I mean, it's also thank you, justice, and it's, you know, thank God Almighty. Thank God Almighty. We're free at last, but we're not free yet.” — Kwame Alexander, on NPR. 17 Black Lives Matter
“330 days to confirm what we already knew.
330 days of reliving the trauma of George’s murder, fearing that the system would let us down again, and mourning so many more that we lost. For a murder witnessed by millions. This isn’t proof the system works. It’s proof of how broken it is. Because it took us this long, and this much attention. Until we have a world where our communities can thrive free from fear, there will be no justice.” — Black Lives Matter, on Twitter. 18 Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
“I urge everyone to
continue the journey to transformation and justice. Although a verdict alone can not end [the Floyd family’s] pain, I hope it's another step on the long path toward healing. He is the one who sparked a worldwide movement, and that’s important.” — Attorney General Keith Ellison, in a public statement. 19 Representative Joyce Beatty, Chair Of The Congressional Black Caucus
This is just the first step. We know very clearly that justice has been delayed. When we come today, we will continue to say all of the names. We will fight continuously for all of those who died or have been injured senselessly by law enforcement.” — Representative Joyce Beatty, in a public statement on Capitol Hill.
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