George Floyd’s family members gathered at a Minneapolis conference room today, cheering each of the three guilty verdicts of Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for his murder of Floyd.
In an emotional interview with ABC after the verdict, sister LaTonya Floyd said she didn’t know what to expect of today’s trial. But, she was “so happy” when Chauvin was found guilty on all charges.
“We got justice. We won,” she said.
“I thought I was going to lose my life when I got that news. And seeing him handcuffed and walking out of that courthouse like my brother was handcuffed, that told me he had no more power.
“He’s not in control anymore. My brother’s in control.”
Chauvin this morning was taken away from the Hennepin County District Court in handcuffs, now having to await his sentencing in remand.
Chauvin, 45, was found guilty by a jury of all charges of second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd, who is Black.
Chauvin's face was obscured by a Covid-19 mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond his eyes darting around the courtroom.
His bail was immediately revoked and he was led away with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Chauvin's sentencing is scheduled for eight weeks from now, with an exact date yet to be confirmed.
The maximum sentence for second-degree unintentional murder is imprisonment of not more than 40 years. The maximum sentence for third-degree murder is imprisonment of not more than 25 years. The maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter is 10 years and/or $20,000.
Meanwhile, crowds are celebrating near the Minneapolis courthouse where Chauvin was convicted.
People elated by the verdict flooded the surrounding streets downtown upon hearing the news. Cars blared their horns and people ran through traffic, waving banners.
An ecstatic Whitney Lewis leaned out a car window waving a “Black Lives Matter” flag in a growing traffic jam of revellers.
“Justice was served,” the 32-year-old from Minneapolis said. “It means George Floyd can now rest.”
Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes.
The jury of six white members and six Black or multiracial ones finished deliberations after about 10 hours over two days.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill thanked the group of 12 today for “heavy duty jury service”.
The jurors' identities will be kept secret and will not be released until the judge decides it is safe to do so.
Three other former Minneapolis officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death will stand trial in August.
The video of Floyd gasping that he couldn’t breathe as bystanders yelled at Chauvin to get off him triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious examination of racism and policing in the US.