People literally broke down in tears of joy and took to the streets cheering, now that justice has been served with Derek Chauvin being found guilty of George Floyd’s murder.
Justice at last! After a Minnesota jury convicted former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering unarmed Black man George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest, people took to the streets to celebrate. Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020 sparked nationwide protests and reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement. On Tues. Apr. 20, 2021 there was joy instead of pain, as people celebrated the fact that Chauvin will be going to prison for Floyd’s killing. At the site of his murder where a permanent memorial was erected to Floyd, emotions flooded over those gathered, with chants of “Black lives matter.” You can see more photos of the celebrations in our gallery above.
Reaction is jubilation here at George Floyd Square pic.twitter.com/BnHcW9yGjJ
— Ricardo Lopez (@rljourno) April 20, 2021
Hundreds are cheering, hugging and crying in George Floyd Square as Cahill delivers the verdict pic.twitter.com/y2k1YQ64ET
— N’dea Yancey-Bragg (@NdeaYanceyBragg) April 20, 2021
The jury was given the case to deliberate on the afternoon of Mon. Apr. 19, 2021 and came back the next day with their verdict after only about 10 hours of deliberations. Chauvin had been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, and was found guilty on all charges. When the verdicts were read live, those at George Floyd Square erupted in cheers, and cars driving through downtown Minneapolis honked their horns in approval of the conviction.
Crowds are filling the streets in celebration in downtown Minneapolis. Cars are honking everywhere. pic.twitter.com/N4Q8T3kJ1M
— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewak) April 20, 2021
— Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv) April 20, 2021
Floyd’s death was caught on video by bystanders watching his arrest. He had been taken into custody for suspicion of passing a forged $20 bill to purchase a sandwich at a Minneapolis deli. Chauvin was seen kneeling on a handcuffed Floyd’s neck, even though he had already been pinned to the ground. Floyd could be heard pleading “I can’t breathe,” while Chauvin was seen kneeling on the man’s neck with his hands casually in his uniform pockets. Even Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen claims she was forced to stand by helplessly and not allowed to render medical aid to Floyd.
Hansen testified on Mar. 30 — the second day of Chauvin’s trial — that “I could have given medical assistance, and that’s exactly what I should have done,” but she was unable to “because the officers didn’t let [her] on the scene.” She added, “There was a man being killed… I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities. And, this human was denied that right” of Floyd.
Before news that the jury had reached a verdict, even President Joe Biden weighed in on the case. He told reporters at the White House, “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. Which is, I think it’s overwhelming in my view.”
Thousands of National Guard members had been called up to help protect the city of Minneapolis in case of any violence that occurred if the jury had gone a different way. The city had suffered multiple nights of rioting following Floyd’s death in 2020, which saw the Minneapolis P.D.’s Third Precinct looted and burned to the ground, as officers were forced to flee. That was where Chauvin and three other officers at the scene of Floyd’s death were based. All four officers were fired on May 26. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on May 29, 2020, with the second degree murder charge upgraded on June 3, 2020.