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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7:46 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Minnesota's work is just beginning, governor says

From CNN’s Keith Allen


Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz lauded Tuesday’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, and pledged that it is just the beginning to enacting real change for the Black community in his state. 

“It's an important step towards justice for Minnesota, trial’s over, but here in Minnesota, I want to be very clear, we know our work just begins. This is the floor, not the ceiling of where we need to get to,” Walz said. 

“We know that accountability in the courtroom is only the very first step,” the governor continued. “To the Floyd family, we grieve for you, today is a small measure but George is not coming back. A child lost a father, a brother, an uncle, a friend. We mourn with you, and we promise the pursuit will continue for justice, as Attorney General [Keith] Ellison said, ‘this isn't justice, it's just one step towards it.’ Through justice for George Floyd will come through real systemic change, to prevent this from ever happening again."

Walz said that today’s verdict represents a pivotal moment not just for his state, but for the entire country.

“This is our moment, and for those of you who have seen Minnesota, and as the governor of Minnesota, it breaks my heart, but my pledge is to make it better,” Walz added. “This is a great state, with great people, and it's now our time to show that means, every single person."

7:45 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Biden says Chauvin verdict proves "no one should be above the law"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden called the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial an indictment on unjust policing.

"No one should be above the law, and today's verdict sends that message. But it's not enough," said the President, who spoke from the White House.

"We can't stop here," he added, noting that "in order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen or occur again."

The President cited national goals of safety and inclusion moving forward, hoping that the jury's decision can help "ensure Black and Brown people... don't fear interactions with law enforcement."

Biden said his hope for the future centers in part around a degree of comfort for parents in minority communities.

"They don't have to worry about whether their sons or daughters will come home after a grocery store run or just walking down the street or driving their car or playing in the park," he said.

"This takes acknowledging and confronting, head-on, systematic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system," the President declared.

Watch the moment:

7:41 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Biden says he told George Floyd's daughter, "daddy did change the world"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden recounted a conversation he had today with Gianna Floyd, George's Floyd's daughter, in which he affirmed that her father's death had sparked global change.

Biden said he met Gianna at Floyd's funeral last year and "told her how brave I thought she was."

"I knelt down and held her hand, I said 'Daddy is looking down at you so proud,'" said Biden. "She said to me then... 'Daddy changed the world.'" 

Biden said when he spoke with Gianna again today, he told her, "Daddy did change the world. Let that be his legacy, a legacy of peace, not violence."

The President then went on to rebuke those who might use this verdict as an excuse for violence. 

"Violent protest is not [his legacy]," said Biden. "There are those who'll seek to exploit the raw emotions of the moment. Agitators and extremists who have no interest in social justice, who seek to carry out violence, destroy property, fan the flames of hate and division.... We can't let them succeed."

Watch the moment:

7:27 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Biden: "It was a murder in the full light of day"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan


President Biden today called the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial a rare but "a giant step forward in the march towards justice in America."

"Today the jury of Minnesota found the former police officer, Derek Chauvin, guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd," said the President, speaking from the White House.  

"It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see ... the systemic racism... a stain on our nation's soul, the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans," Biden continued.

Watch the moment:

7:45 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Harris: "Today we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, noting that the country still has work to do.

"Today we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn't the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer, and the fact is, we still have work to do. We still must reform the system," Harris said in remarks at the White House.

Harris also advocated for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act aimed at preventing police misconduct. She said the Biden administration would continue to urge the Senate to pass this legislation.

"This bill would hold law enforcement accountable and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities," she said about the bill she introduced last summer when she was a senator. "This bill is a part of George Floyd's legacy."

Harris addressed the long history of systemic racism in the country, and how the lives of Black men "must be valued."

She continued, "Here's the truth about racial injustice, it is not just a Black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American."

"We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy and our job now is to honor it, and to honor him," Harris said.

Watch the Vice President's speech here:

7:35 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

NOW: Biden and Harris deliver remarks on Chauvin verdict

From CNN's Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper


Vice President Kamala Harris and President Biden are delivering remarks now from the White House on the verdict in Derek Chauvin's trial in the death of George Floyd.

The former Minneapolis Police officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck for over 9 minutes last year was found guilty Tuesday of all three charges against him in one of the most consequential trials of the Black Lives Matter era.

Chauvin, 45, was convicted on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days in coming to their decision.

7:17 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

George Floyd's brother describes what it was like to be in the courtroom during the trial

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, said it was difficult to be in the courtroom during the trial and watch "my brother being executed day after day."

"It was difficult just watching the videos over and over and over and over again. I watched my brother being executed day after day, modern day lynching," he told CNN after the verdict was announced. "Sitting in that courtroom, I knew my Lord and savior was in there, and George was in there."

He said that George always told him to never give up but "that day when the officer had his knee on his neck, George had no choice but to give up."

When the verdict was about to be delivered, Floyd said he paced back and forth before he went into the courtroom.

"I have faith and I believe in God, so I was optimistic and I kept saying we will get justice, we'll get it. Just sitting in there and listening to those words – guilty, guilty, and guilty on all counts – that was a moment that I will never be able to relive. I will always have inside of me. It's just, being able to know that, it's justice for African-American people, just people of color, period, in this world. This is monumental. This is historic. This is a pivotal moment in history," he said.

7:26 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Floyd's nephew calls verdict a "pivotal moment for America"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz


George Floyd's nephew called the guilty verdict a "pivotal moment for America."

Speaking in Minneapolis following the announcement of the jury's decision, Brandon Williams declared the trial's verdict long overdue, and in the process outwardly hoped for systemic change.

"It's something this country has needed for a long time now. Hopefully today is the start of that," said Williams, a man whom attorney Ben Crump said was "like a son" to Floyd.

"We need change in this broken system. It was built to oppress us. It was built against us," Williams said of American policing. "Oftentimes we see people who are supposed to protect and serve... they do the total opposite."

Williams called himself optimistic ahead of the verdict, noting that historically even strong evidence doesn't always guarantee a just result.

"All of the evidence, all of the witnesses, everything proved exactly what we saw in that video," he said, adding that, "oftentimes this system fails us as Black men and women in America."

Williams admitted that returning each day during the trial was emotionally challenging, as "this is the exact place where they took somebody from me that I love."

However, he said, coming back on Wednesday offered some degree of closure and relief.

"This time it was easy. We came for one thing and one thing only. That was justice for George Floyd. And today that's what we got," Williams said.

Watch the moment:

7:25 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Former President Bill Clinton: "The jury made the right decision"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former President Bill Clinton said he believes the jury "made the right decision" in convicting former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on all charges today.

"The jury made the right decision in convicting Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd," Clinton said in a statement today.  "His tragic death, and the evidence at the trial, made painfully clear that we must do much better in recruiting, training, and holding law enforcement accountable to the communities they serve. The failure to do so continues to plague America, as we have seen in recent days."

“The color of a person’s skin still determines far too often how they will be treated in nearly every aspect of American life. While the verdict won’t bring George Floyd back, it can help us prevent more senseless deaths and hasten the day when we are all treated equally in matters of life, liberty, dignity, respect, and opportunity," Clinton said.