Derek Chauvin guilty in murder of George Floyd

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 11:36 a.m. ET, April 22, 2021
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9:31 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Derek Chauvin is in a restricted housing unit in prison for his safety

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

Minnesota Department of Corrections
Minnesota Department of Corrections

Derek Chauvin is in a restricted housing unit separate from the general population at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, according to Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson Sarah Fitzgerald.

“He is on ‘administrative segregation’ status for his safety, and is in the Administrative Control Unit (ACU) at Oak Park Heights. The ACU is the state’s most secure unit,” Fitzgerald told CNN in an email. “Administrative segregation is used when someone’s presence in the general population is a safety concern.”

Chauvin is expected to be sentenced in eight weeks, and faces 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.

The ex-Minneapolis police officer was transferred to Oak Park Heights through an agreement between the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Corrections, CNN previously reported

The correctional facility is in Stillwater, about 25 miles east of downtown Minneapolis.

9:11 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Eric Garner's mom: Chauvin verdict is the "right direction," but "one victory is not enough"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, the Black man who died after being put into a chokehold by a New York City police officer, said that the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin signals a pivot “in the right direction.”

In 2014, cellphone video showed Garner saying “I can’t breathe” as a White officer, Daniel Pantaleo, took him to the ground in Staten Island. Pantaleo was never criminally charged in Garner's death and was fired in August 2019. Carr told CNN’s Brianna Keilar that “it would have been all just swept under the rug, but I was not letting that happen.”

Her son’s case “set the precedent for the George Floyd movement,” Carr said.

Body-camera footage showed Floyd's last words were "I can't breathe."

“So when we [saw] what happened to George Floyd, we said ‘no, no more.’ Seems like the entire nation came out and said ‘this is not going to be.’ … It's not only the Black race, but all races, nations, creeds, religions, everyone came out to say enough is enough.” 

Carr said that police departments need to work to confront racism and root out “bad apples” in law enforcement. 

“One victory is not enough. We need to stay woke. Don't just go home and sit on your couch saying, ‘oh well, George Floyd has a victory.’ No, we all need a victory. We have so many of us that didn't get victories, so we have to work on that, and we have to work on other young men and women not being killed. Who wants their name known after they're dead? We need to do something now. We don't want another casualty,” she said.  


11:36 a.m. ET, April 22, 2021

Leaders and activists are calling for the Senate to pass a policing bill. Here's what it would do.

From CNN's Clare Foran

Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd, but now there's a new call for action: Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Authored by Rep. Karen Bass of California, the act has already passed the US House of Representatives. It just needs a debate and a vote in the US Senate.

According to the legislation's fact sheet, the bill would "save lives by banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants" and would mandate "deadly force be used only as a last resort."

In the wake of the verdict, many of Floyd's family members, leaders and activists and President Joe Biden said that now is the time to continue to push that legislation forward.  Supporters of the bill say it would improve law enforcement accountability and work to root out racial bias in policing.

"We can't stop here," President Biden said on Tuesday, 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."

Here's what the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would do:

  1. Ban chokeholds. While many police agencies say they don't train their officers to use chokeholds, they are still used. The legal standard for the use of chokeholds is vague, making it difficult to prosecute officers who abuse this use of force
  2. Ban no-knock warrants. The no-knock warrant allows officers to break into homes without warning.
  3. Create a duty to intervene. When police officers see another officer using excessive force, the witnessing officers would be required to intervene. 
  4. Create a public registry. The law establishes a national police misconduct registry available to the public. This would stop officers from evading consequences for their actions by moving to another jurisdiction.
  5. End qualified immunity: Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects government officials from being held personally liable for violations – for example, when police use excessive force. Ending qualified immunity would mean that, if a police officer breaks the law, that officer would be held accountable

Democrats now control the Senate, which has a 50-50 partisan split with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tie breaker. But most legislation in that chamber still requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, and it's not clear there would be enough Republican support to get the legislation across the finish line in the Senate.

9:38 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Eyewitness describes how George Floyd’s death changed his mindset as a Black father 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Donald Williams speaks to CNN’s Sara Sidner. 
Donald Williams speaks to CNN’s Sara Sidner.  CNN

An eyewitness who testified in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin said that the death of George Floyd is a “trauma that I deal with on a regular, on a daily, on a nightly basis.”  

“I witnessed a murder, so … the best thing to do is to call the police on the police” last May as Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck, Donald Williams told CNN’s Sara Sidner. 

Williams said the experience prompted him to work harder to secure his family’s future.

“It changed my mindset into a different frame. I was always a father. I’m always there. But what am I going to be able to leave my kids if an officer kills me next?” he said. 

Williams also said the defense’s questioning of him during the trial tried “to paint me as this angry Black man.”

“No, I’m not angry. It was my passion for me to speak up for [Floyd]. My passion. You can't say my passion is anger. I was passionate for this man's life. … And that is just who I am,” Williams said.

Chauvin should now face a harsh sentence, Williams said. 

“Put him in jail, throw away the key and make him an example like they would do with any Black man,” he said. 

Watch CNN's Sara Sidner's interview with Donald Williams:

8:30 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Philonise Floyd: Without cameras, my brother would have been left on the road to die

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, wipes his eyes during a post-verdict news conference in Minneapolis on April 20.
George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, wipes his eyes during a post-verdict news conference in Minneapolis on April 20. Julio Cortez/AP

George Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd said it was the presence of cameras that opened doors for the "historic" verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

"To me, Emmett Till, he was the first George Floyd. It just wasn't any cameras around. That's the only thing that changed — the cameras, the technology. It helped open up doors because without that, my brother just would have been another person on the side of the road left to die."

The video became "a staple for what police officers shouldn't do," Floyd said in an explanation for why he thought that the defense's approach of focusing on Floyd's opioid addiction didn't work.

After this verdict, he says he doesn't want "any more George Floyds."

"What happened to my brother, it was a crime. He was tortured to death. I don't want any more George Floyds. I don't want there to be any more Daunte Wrights. I don't want there to be any Ahmaud Arberys. We should be able to walk free and not be killed because of the shade of our skin color," he said, adding that he will be starting an institution for social change. "We're turning our pain into purpose."

Floyd also reflected on the verdict and the protesting that led to it, calling it "monumental."

"People all over the world came out for what was right. I'm talking about put their lives on the line through the pandemic. Covid ... And the world let it be known that we all can breathe again because justice for George means freedom for all."

Watch Philonise Floyd on CNN's New Day:

8:19 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

How do you feel about Chauvin's guilty verdict?

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer who kneeled on George Floyd's neck for over 9 minutes last year, has just been found guilty of all three charges against him – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours in one of the most consequential trials of the Black Lives Matter era.

We want to know your reaction to the verdict and what you think needs to happen next. Leave your comments in the box below and we may feature some in our upcoming reporting.

7:48 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

The jury verdict for Chauvin was not the system working, but people making the system work, Van Jones says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

The jury’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is not an example of the system working, but instead of “people making the system work,” CNN commentator Van Jones says.

“What happened is the voting worked. You can tell the young people now — voting matters. The protesting worked. You can tell young people — marching matters. And the truth. The fact that people got involved with their video cameras, they captured it. Citizen engagement matters. So there's a formula now that you can begin to show people we can make the system work for change.”

Jones emphasized that the Floyd’s murder was first filed as a medical incident in a police report but people “rose up and said ‘we're not going to let this go,’” he said, adding that the governor gave the case to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a Black man, who put a lot of resources on the table.

Jones remarked that he can now tell his sons that they have a way forward:

“The humanity of a generation was on trial, not just a system, the humanity of the whole generation. [Younger Black people] now see, I can make the system work for me. It's not fair, I’ve got to fight harder than I should, but I've got a shot. We didn't feel that way in the '90s as young Black folks. We felt like we had been thrown away. And so this is a big deal.”
8:06 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Floyd's cousin says she's "pleased" after verdict, but "still saddened at the same time" 

From CNN's Deanna Hackney 

George Floyd's cousin, Paris Stevens, says she is "pleased" but "still saddened at the same time" about Tuesday's verdict in the Derek Chauvin case. 

Stevens and Floyd's aunt Angela Harrelson, spoke to CNN's Adrienne Broaddus in Minneapolis during the early morning hours Wednesday. 

"I'm pleased that I know that change is here, and police are going to start being held accountable," Stevens said, adding that she is of course sad Floyd isn't alive today. 

Angela Harrelson gave praise to Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old who filmed Floyd's murder at the hands of the former police officer. 

"It really doesn't surprise me that much, with police cover-ups, because they've always had done that, especially towards black and brown people," Harrelson said. "The sad thing is if it hadn't been for that 17-year-old girl Darnella, it would have been another black man, that was killed by the police, his own fault, and they would have said, 'Oh, it was drugs, oh it was this'. And we would never have had the story we would have and wouldn't be here today talking."

Harrelson told Broaddus that she is "really, really good" with Chauvin's potential punishment for killing her nephew.

"We are going to continue this journey, and we must not let his death be his last word. We must not let his death be the last word," Harrelson said. 


7:18 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Jury verdict is not justice but "a good step" in accountability, CNN commentator says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

After the jury in Derek Chauvin trial found the former Minneapolis Police officer guilty of all three charges against him, CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers says it’s not justice but “a good step in accountability.”

“I don't want anyone to get confused about the journey that we're on together,” he told CNN. “Justice would be George Floyd alive. Justice would be policy and reforms in place that ensured that when police interact with people of color they can live through those interactions. Yesterday was a good step when it comes to accountability though.”

And that is reason for hope, he said.

“Finally, we have accountability in a criminal justice system that hasn't ever been there before. And so, that is why people are breathing easier. That’s why people are having some semblance of hope because of that accountability.”