The jury in the Derek Chauvin case found the former police officer guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin faced charges of second-degree murder, punishable by up to 40 years in prison; third-degree murder, with a maximum sentence of 25 years; and second-degree manslaughter, with a sentence of 10 years. The sentence to be served by the former police officer will be known within six to eight weeks.
Following the announcement of the decision, protesters began to celebrate. Organizations such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) applauded the verdict and called for police law reform. This was followed by acts of vandalism.
The head of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the United States, Nicole Austin-Hillery, said the jury’s decision in the Derek Chauvin case is a vindication for George Floyd’s family.
“Today’s verdict shows that justice IS within reach in the US, but we need justice everyday, for every person, in every instance,” Austin-Hillery said.
For his part, President Joe Biden maintained that there is a bill being pushed in George Floyd’s name and that it should not take long to pass. “I assured the Floyd family that we’re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so I can sign it into law right away,” Biden said.
He added that “today’s verdict sends that message, but it’s not enough. We can’t stop there.” He further labeled the case a tragedy. “To achieve real change and reform, we can and must do more to reduce the likelihood of tragedies like this happening.”
Vice President Kamala Harris agreed with Biden on the Derek Chauvin case and assured that George Floyd left “a legacy”. She also insisted that more must be done to “combat racial injustice.” She maintained that they must continue to take action on these types of situations. “But the verdict will not heal the pain that has existed for generations,” Harris said.
On the other hand, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) stated that he was “Grateful that the jury gave George’s family the justice they deserve,” and reported that he will push for the Police Justice Act.
Since Chauvin has no criminal record, the second- and third-degree murder charges could not exceed 12 and a half years in prison each and the second-degree manslaughter charge would be a maximum of four years.
The case dates back to May 25, 2020, when videos were released showing the former agent pressing his knee against the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, who hours after the fact was pronounced dead. According to the police version, Chauvin and other officers arrested Floyd after he used a counterfeit $20 bill in a store.