Relief in Minneapolis as Derek Chauvin found guilty of murdering George Floyd

Chauvin will face sentencing in eight weeks and could be sent to prison for decades.

Protesters marching after George Floyd was killed.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last year until he died, was found guilty on Tuesday. Picture: Life Matters/Pexels

PRETORIA, 21 May (ANA) – The guilty verdict against former police officer Derek Chauvin was greeted with relief and tears around Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

CNN said a crowd of almost one hundred people cheered outside the court as the verdict was announced.

Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, a move proved fatal.

The US broadcaster said Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The broadcaster explained that Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for manslaughter.

In May last year, Floyd, 46, was arrested for using a counterfeit US$20 note. The store manager called police, who arrived and handcuffed Floyd, but he refused to get into the patrol car, saying he was claustrophobic. He was then pinned down and was heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe’’, a call which fell on deaf ears, until he died.

The horrific video of Floyd’s last moments went viral and sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police towards black people.

In court, several police expert witnesses said the degree and type of force used by Chauvin was beyond that which should have been used in the situation, Sky News reported.

The British broadcaster quoted Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, the head of the Minneapolis homicide department, as saying that the restraint should have stopped as soon as Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground.

It was also heard in court that Chauvin took part in use-of-force training in 2018 and completed a 40-hour course on recognising people in a crisis in 2016.

Because he refused to testify, the jury never received a full explanation about why he acted in the way he did.

In nationally televised remarks shortly afterwards, US President Joe Biden said “systemic racism is a stain on the whole nation’s soul”.

CNN said that after the verdict, Floyd’s family and other close allies called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“We frame this moment for all of us, not just George Floyd. This is a victory for those who champion humanity over inhumanity, those who champion justice over injustice, those who champion morals over immorality,’’ family attorney Ben Crump was quoted as saying.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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