Derek Chauvin guilty in death of George Floyd

By Mike Hayes, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 0406 GMT (1206 HKT) April 21, 2021
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6:49 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Floyd family attorney on verdict: "This is a victory for those who champion humanity over inhumanity"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

CNN
CNN

After a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges for the murder of George Floyd, attorney Ben Crump took a moment to reflect upon the significance of the decision.

"We're going to try to leave here today knowing that America is a better country," said Crump, the Floyd family attorney. "America, let's pause for a moment to proclaim this historical moment not just for the legacy of George Floyd, but for the legacy of America."

Speaking from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Crump encouraged the nation to reflect upon the decision in a greater context.

"America, let's frame this moment as a moment where we finally are getting close to living up to our Declaration of Independence," said Crump, before channeling the nation's famous document and offering a modern-day application.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equally, that they're endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that amongst them are life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Crump said, before adding, "America, that means all of us. That means Black people. That means Hispanic people. That means Native people. That means Asian people. That means all of us, America."

With the United States still reeling from a pattern of incidents pitting police officers against underserved communities, Crump offered a larger perspective, suggesting that the Chauvin verdict can become a step towards a more just nation.

"We frame this moment for all of us, not just for 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. America, let's lean into this moment," he said.

Watch the moment here:

7:18 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Terrence Floyd: "I'm just grateful"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Terrence Floyd, one of George Floyd's brother, said he's grateful for the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, "we got the verdict we wanted."

"My family is a family that will not back down from prayer. And I believe because of prayer, we got the verdict we wanted. We got on our knees. Some of us stood up, but we asked the right person, we asked the right one. We said, 'God, we need justice, we need it now.' And he answered. I'm just grateful," Terrence Floyd said.

He continued, "I'm grateful that my grandmother, my mother, my aunts, they got to see this history made. I'm even grateful — my brother's, he's not here, and I'm grateful and I'm proud of him. I will salute him at every — every day of my life, I will salute him because he showed me how to be strong. He showed me how to be respectful. He showed me how to speak my mind. I'm going to miss him, but now I know he's in history. What a day to be a Floyd, man."

Watch the moment here:

6:45 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Floyd family attorney calls for more change: "Let this be a changing point in America"

CNN
CNN

L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for the George Floyd family, said "justice finally came," but there is still change that needs to happen.

He said they felt "pure joy and pure shock, because days like this don't happen," after hearing news of the guilty verdict.

"The whole world should not have to rally to get justice for one man, but that's what happened," Stewart said.

"This wasn't one family's case. This was the entire world's case and justice finally came. But it shouldn't have to be so hard to attain this level of justice in cases like this when we can see with our own eyes the only difference is the color of his skin. That's the change we all want. That's outrageous," he added.

Stewart said when they heard the verdict, they all teared up, but "don't confuse these tears thinking that they are sorrow."

He said tears of sorrow are of those "are the tears of the victims that we've seen time and time again be shot in the back, choked over loose cigarettes or killed for no reason, and justice never comes. Those are the tears that someone will weep tomorrow when they are taken advantage of in an interaction with law enforcement."

"Let this be a changing point in America for policing in a positive way and let's unify," Stewart added.

Watch the moment here:

6:31 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Teen who filmed George Floyd's death says "justice has been served" 

From CNN’s Omar Jimenez

Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed the bystander video of George Floyd’s death and testified in Derek Chauvin’s trial, expressed her relief following today's guilty verdict.

“I just cried so hard…This last hour my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious,” she said on Facebook.

“THANK YOU GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU… George Floyd we did it!!...justice has been served.”

6:31 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Al Sharpton leads prayer following verdict: "Bless the jury that listened to the evidence"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

CNN
CNN

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton lead a prayer today alongside George Floyd's family and their attorneys, thanking God as well as prosecutors and the jury for delivering justice "in the midnight hours."

Before offering the prayer of gratitude, Sharpton lead those present at the news conference in an answer and repeat call which has been common at Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, chanting, "say his name, George Floyd."

"Dear God, we thank you for giving us the strength to stand together," prayed Sharpton. "...Somehow you touch us in the midnight hours and teach us to hold on, and that if we would be faithful over a few things, you'd give us the victory over many."

"We thank you because we know it was not any doing of ours, but your loving kindness and your tender mercy that made tonight possible," he prayed. 

Sharpton went to also thank all those who fought tirelessly to bring about the guilty verdict. 

"Bless those that worked, that made this prosecution something they couldn't deny," he said. "Bless those policemen that got on the stand and testified against another policeman."

"Bless the jury that listened to the evidence and didn't listen to those that may criticize them for doing this," he said. "Bless the prosecutor, Keith Ellison, and his staff that did their job, even though they didn't know what the outcome would be."

Watch the moment:

6:19 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

"A collective exhale" inside the White House after verdict read, administration official says

From CNN's Phil Mattingly 

A senior administration official described the reaction inside the private dining room where President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and senior staff were watching the verdict read live: “A collective exhale. From everyone."

"Then the collective recognition that so much more work needs to be done. But overall just a sweeping sense of relief," the official added.

6:11 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Mother of Philando Castile says there was no doubt in her mind Chauvin would be convicted

From CNN's Nicquel Terry Ellis 

Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile who was killed by a Minnesota police officer nearly five years ago, said there was no doubt in her mind that Derek Chauvin would be convicted in George Floyd’s death on Tuesday.

Castile told CNN that the prosecution had presented enough evidence to secure a guilty verdict. She had also been praying for weeks.

“There was nothing indisputable from the beginning,” Castile said.

Castile said earlier this month that she had little faith in the criminal justice system and that watching the Chauvin trial was "re-traumatizing."

She said defense attorneys had attempted to incriminate her son saying he had marijuana in his system the same way attorneys said Floyd died of a drug overdose. The police officer charged in Philando Castile’s death was ultimately acquitted in 2017.

Castile said the Chauvin conviction now gives the Twin Cities community a “glimmer of hope” when it comes to police brutality against Black people.

“If a person is found guilty then that would give the next person pause to be so aggressive in a manner that it causes great bodily harm or death,” Castile said. “It would give them pause to proceed so aggressively.”
6:09 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Obama: "The jury did the right thing"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Former President Barack Obama reacted to the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case.

"Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more," Obama tweeted.

In a statement, Obama also noted:

"True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work fo making the America we know more like the America we believe in.

"While today's verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from sufficient one. We cannot rest."

6:11 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

What it was like in the courtroom when the verdict was read

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper and Josh Campbell in Minneapolis

Pool
Pool

The courtroom was silent as the verdict was read, pool reporters inside, including CNN’s Josh Campbell, noted. 

Derek Chauvin appeared to be in a daze while waiting for the jury to arrive and was staring at the empty jury seating area, Campbell reported. He snapped out of it after a few seconds when his attorney, Eric Nelson, spoke with him.

At one point, Chauvin turned to look at Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, who was praying, the pool reporters noted.   

Philonise Floyd waited for the verdict in the courtroom with his head bowed and hands clasped. He appeared to alternate between praying, looking up towards Chauvin, and looking down praying again.

As the first guilty verdict was read, his hands began shaking while clasped. They became shakier during the second verdict and during the third, his hands were shaking back and forth with his eyes closed as his head nodded up and down.

After the court concluded, Philonise was seen crying as he hugged all four prosecutors, Campbell observed. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher’s eyes were also red as he wiped away tears.  

"I was just praying they would find him guilty. As an African American, we usually never get justice,” Philonise told Campbell after the verdict. 

In court, the seat reserved for Chauvin’s family was occupied by a middle-aged white woman with long brown hair and glasses who declined to give her name to reporters.

When Chauvin was remanded into custody, the bailiff told him “Mr. Chauvin, please place your hands behind your back.”

He handcuffed the former Minneapolis police officer’s left hand, then his right, the pool reporters observed. The handcuffs were not double locked in the courtroom. 

After reading the verdicts, Judge Peter Cahill confirmed with each of the jurors that the three guilty convictions were correct. 

The foreperson, juror 19, signed each of the verdict slips. He is a white male in his 30s who works as an auditor, according to information shared during jury selection. 

As the verdict was read, there was no noticeable emotional reaction from the jury, Campbell noted. Whereas during trial, they each had their own idiosyncrasies, they remained still and quiet staring at the judge until they were called upon by the judge.

“I have to thank you on behalf of the people of the state of Minnesota for not just jury service but heavy-duty jury service,” Cahill told the 12 jurors.