Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. He will be sentenced in 8 weeks.
In May last year, shocking video footage showed former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, killing him. Forty-six-year-old Floyd was in police custody in Minneapolis for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin and two other police officers handcuffed Floyd and then Chauvin pinned his knees on Floyd's neck. The man was evidently in distress underneath him as he cried out for his dead mother, repeatedly gasping, "I can't breathe."
This sparked a lot of protests across the country, calling for justice. Finally, almost a year later, Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter, reports PEOPLE.
Less than 24 hours after the jury began its deliberations, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges, including the murder of George Floyd https://t.co/Fks5X9HIjR pic.twitter.com/CtGeHBaY1u— Reuters (@Reuters) April 21, 2021
Forty-four-year-old Chauvin was taken away in handcuffs and will go directly to jail. He will be sentenced in eight weeks. The New York Times reports that the recommended sentence in Minnesota for a first-time offender found guilty of second- or third-degree murder is 12 and half years. The recommended sentence for manslaughter is 4 years.
This verdict came as a huge relief to George Floyd's family as they finally experience justice. "Today we are able to breathe again," Philonise Floyd, his brother, said at a news conference, referencing George's repeated cries of "I can't breathe."
George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, tells Gayle King about the moment he heard that Derek Chauvin was "guilty, guilty and guilty":— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 21, 2021
"All I had in my head was, ‘Man, this is not just for George. This is for everybody around the world.'” pic.twitter.com/OQH5dTk00W
"The world seen his life being extinguished, and I could do nothing but watch ... especially in that courtroom over and over and over again as my brother was murdered," said Philonise. "Times, they are getting harder every day," he said.
Another one of George's brothers, Terrance Floyd, said: "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. Some of us stood up, but we asked the right one. We said – God, we need justice, we need it now. And he answered," he said. "I'm just grateful." Of George, he said, "I will salute him at every day of my life, I will salute him because he showed me how to be strong, he showed me how to be respectful, he showed me how to speak my mind. I will miss him, but I know that he is history."
"What a day to be a Floyd, man," he said.
George's other brother, Rodney Floyd, told the media: "This is a victory for all of us. There is no color barrier on all of this. This is for everyone held down, pinned down ... For George, this fight is not over. We have to get this act passed, we are going to keep pressure on the Senate and everyone."
Angela Harrelson, an aunt of the brothers, said: "I want to say to the people around the world: It wasn't darkness. May 25 was a very dark day, there was a lot of pain and a lot of hatred. But I want to say something – I got a chance to witness something, I got a chance to witness all the love that I saw all around the world that was poured to the family."
"I don't know that I will get a chance to see that again," she said. "But the love that was shown me and my family, you touched us."
Finally, a nephew of George's, Brandon Williams, told reporters after the verdict: "We need each and every officer to be held accountable and until then, it is still scary to be a Black man and woman in America and encounter police."
"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," he said.
Watch the entire trial here:
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Sky News/Derek Chauvin found guilty of the murder of George Floyd