Nation reacts to Derek Chauvin verdict

Brunilde Fioravanti
Апреля 21, 2021

Ben Crump, one of the attorneys for George Floyd's family that helped settle a $27 million civil lawsuit last month, called the Derek Chauvin case a "turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement", after the former Minneapolis police officer was convicted on all three counts in Floyd's death.

Chauvin was found guilty on all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

"I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that's disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function", he said shortly after sending the jury to begin deliberations.

Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a 45-year-old now-fired white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man's neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd gasped that he couldn't breathe and onlookers yelled at Chauvin to get off.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, who pounded away at Chauvin's witnesses during the trial, said the verdict sends a message to Floyd's family "that he was somebody, that his life matters". He was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs and placed in the custody of the Hennepin County Sheriff. Chris Dixon, a 41-year old Black Minneapolis resident, had tears rolling down his face. "We must not turn away, we can't turn away", he said. "I'm just very proud of where I live right now". At George Floyd square in Minneapolis, the intersection where Floyd was killed and is now named after him, people screamed, applauded and some threw dollar bills in the air in celebration. The site has since become a rallying point for racial justice protests.

"Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd's family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today's verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world", Crump said in a statement.

Chauvin was prepared to plead guilty to third-degree murder in George Floyd's death before then-Attorney General William Barr personally blocked the plea deal previous year. While the USA criminal justice system and juries have long given leeway and some legal protection to police officers who use violence to subdue civilians, the jurors in this case found that Chauvin had crossed the line and used excessive force.

For third-degree murder, the maximum sentence is 25 years. In Minnesota, defendants serve about two-thirds of their prison sentences with the rest on parole.

"They're a good family and they're calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is", Biden said a few hours before the verdicts were announced.

"I'm praying that the verdict is the right verdict", Mr. Biden had said earlier. "I wouldn't say that unless the jury was sequestered now". The intersection of race and law enforcement has always been contentious in the United States, underscored by a series of deadly incidents involving white police officers and Black people in a number of American cities in recent years. His team has instead pointed reporters to his support of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has passed the House of Representatives but has a tougher fight in the Senate, rather than executive actions.

The charges were brought against the ex-police officer after Mr Floyd died during an arrest outside Cup Foods store on May 25 past year.

The trial was televised and Mr. Chauvin, 45, dressed in a grey suit and wearing a surgical mask, appeared to listen intently, eyes darting from side to side, as the judge read out the verdict for each of three charges brought against him by the State of Minnesota.

Biden said he was only weighing in on the trial into the death of Floyd, who died with Chauvin's knee on his neck, because the jury in the case had already been sequestered.

Altre relazioni

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE