After deliberating for 10.5 hours, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges—second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter—in the death of George Floyd during an arrest last Memorial Day.
Video footage, in which Chauvin was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, sparked global outcry and widespread demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice.
Immediately after yesterday’s verdict was read, Chauvin’s bail was revoked and he was remanded into custody. Chauvin is set to be sentenced in eight weeks and could face up to 40 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines for first-time offenders suggest he will receive a lesser sentence.
“George Floyd died because Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck and stopped him from breathing for more than nine minutes. There is no question in my mind that the jury reached the right verdict,” said South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. “While this outcome should give us renewed confidence in the integrity of our justice system, we know there is more work to be done to ensure the bad apples do not define all officers—the vast majority of whom put on the uniform each day with integrity and servant hearts. We must all come together to help repair the tenuous relationship between law enforcement and Black and minority Americans.
“To deny the progress we’ve made is just as damaging as not making progress at all,” Scott continued. “I urge people across this nation to peacefully make their voices heard and engage in conversations that will continue to move us toward a more just America. I believe in the goodness of our country; we can and will do better.”
In an interview with Boston.com before Chauvin’s conviction, former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson admitted that he found it hard to watch the trial in its entirety.
“I had to guard my eyes and my heart in how much I watched the trial, how much I relived it,” he said. “The trauma is something that gets underplayed so many times when you see things over and over again and you can relate to it.”
But hope hasn’t disappeared, Watson encouraged.
“If anything,” he said, “when we look at the last year, we can say that there is hope for America because of her willingness to make things right that have been wrong.”
Franklin Graham shared on Facebook his hope for a better America moving forward:
“My prayer is that our country will come together. I hope Christians will set the example and lead the way. Jesus told His disciples, ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15:12, ESV). George Floyd’s life mattered—every life matters to God.”
Above: Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains Robert and Frieda Roulds pray with a man on Apr. 16—four days before Derek Chauvin’s conviction—at a makeshift memorial set up for Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Photo: Todd Sumlin/©2021 BGEA