Minneapolis, April 21 (Reuters) — Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder on Tuesday in the death of George Floyd, a milestone in the fraught racial history of the United States and a rebuke of law enforcement’s treatment of Black Americans.
The 12-member jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police officials and medical experts. Deliberations began on Monday and lasted just over 10 hours.
In a confrontation captured on video, Chauvin, a white veteran of the police force, pushed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in handcuffs, for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020. Chauvin and three fellow officers were attempting to arrest Floyd, who was accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store.
The jurors remained still and quiet as the verdict was read, according to a pool report. Chauvin, wearing a gray suit with a blue tie and white shirt as well as a light-blue pandemic-related face mask, nodded and stood quickly when the judge ruled that his bail was revoked. He was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs and placed in the custody of the Hennepin County sheriff.
Outside the courthouse, a crowd of several hundred people erupted in cheers when the verdict was announced.
The scene quickly turned festive with cars honking, demonstrators blocking traffic, grilling food, and chanting “George Floyd” and “All three counts.”
Chris Dixon, a 41-year old Black Minneapolis resident, had tears rolling down his face.
“I was hoping that we would get justice and it looks like we did,” 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 which was later named in his honor, 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.
“Justice for Black America is justice for all of America,” the Floyd family’s attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement. “This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”