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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3:32 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Minneapolis police leadership pledges cooperation with DOJ, according to senior justice official

From CNN's Jessica Schneider

The Justice Department informed the Minneapolis Police Department that they were opening a civil investigation this morning, a senior justice official told reporters on a background call, saying that MPD leaders pledged cooperation in the probe. 

Career civil rights division attorneys, as part of the special litigation section, had been looking into the practices of the department and made the recommendation to senior leaders at DOJ to open the investigation, according to the official.

A team of civil rights division attorneys from the Justice Department are on the ground in Minneapolis working with the US Attorney’s Office in Minnesota to begin the investigation, according to the official. 

These investigations are typically staffed by career attorneys with deep civil rights experience, and they hire teams of experts to assist and look into evidence, the official said. The teams often include former police chiefs or high-level police officers in similarly situated cities.

1:49 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

After Floyd death, Minneapolis police still use force on Black people at disproportionate rate

From CNN's Casey Tolan

In the months after George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis Police Department officers reported using force on far fewer people – but then use of force spiked late last year, a CNN analysis of MPD data found. 

And after Floyd’s death, Black people are still subject to use of force by Minneapolis officers at a highly disproportionate rate.

The analysis, which comes as the Department of Justice announced Wednesday it would open an investigation into the MPD’s practices, suggests that the prosecution of former officer Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s death hasn’t led to a sustained reduction in use of force by Minneapolis officers – or the racial disparities in who is subject to police force.

CNN reviewed cases in which the race of the person police used force on was recorded. Between January 2008, when the data begins, and May 25, 2020, when Chauvin killed Floyd, 64.6% of people who police used force on were Black. Since Floyd’s death, 62.6% were Black. 

That’s in a city that is just 19% Black, according to U.S. Census records

Overall, the MPD data shows that police use of force dropped significantly immediately after Floyd’s killing last May. Officers reported using force on just 32 people in June and 31 people in July – the lowest totals of any month since the beginning of the data in 2008.  

But later in 2020, there was a pronounced spike. Officers used force on 204 people in September, 232 in October and 221 in November – the highest monthly totals in the dataset.  

Since then, use of force has dropped, but is still elevated compared to previous years. Police used force on 115 people in March 2021 – more than any month in 2017, 2018 or 2019.  

Police reported using a “neck restraint” in only a single case since Floyd’s killing, in which Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck. An officer put a 26-year-old Black man arrested for burglary in a neck restraint in August 2020, according to the data. The man was listed as assaulting an officer. The city banned all neck restraints and chokeholds by police in June.

CNN reported last year that Minneapolis police reported using neck restraints on hundreds of people in the years before Floyd’s death, two-thirds of whom were Black.  

Chauvin’s use of force on Floyd does not appear to be listed in the dataset. There are no recorded uses of force on May 25, 2020.

In addition, officers appear to be recording less complete data about the race of the people they used force on. Since Floyd’s death, 19% of people who officers used force on were listed with an “unknown” or “not recorded” race, compared to less than 4% in the years before his death. It’s possible that that discrepancy could be because some of the more recent cases are still being investigated. 

CNN reached out to MPD for comment Wednesday morning and but has not heard back.

1:03 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Biden will address police reform during joint session next week, White House says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House on April 21 in Washington, DC.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House on April 21 in Washington, DC. Evan Vucci/AP

The White House continued to advocate for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Wednesday amid ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill after the conviction of Derek Chauvin. It will be a key topic during President Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday.

“As he’s thinking about what his joint session speech looks like next week, he has every intention of using that as an opportunity to elevate this issue and talk about the importance of putting police reform measures in place,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the press briefing.  

“The President doesn’t believe that he alone can pull the George Floyd Act across the finish line. That is going to be up to Congress,” she said, adding that Biden “believes the bar for convicting officers is too high.” 

Psaki declined to say whether the President would support a bill without qualified immunity, a key sticking point in the ongoing negotiations. When she was pressed on whether the President would support getting rid of the filibuster to pass this legislation without 60 votes, she said Biden’s position remains unchanged.  

Asked whether the White House was open to a counter proposal led by Republican Sen. Tim Scott, she said, “Of course,” adding that “this is going to be a discussion” and the White House would let it play out on the Hill. 

Her comments come after Scott told reporters earlier Wednesday he believes discussions on a police reform proposal are "on the verge of wrapping" soon.

Senior White House leadership, Psaki said, has also been advocating for the bill on Capitol Hill, noting that the White House is “(providing) the space for those conversations to happen privately.”

The White House is also in “regular contact” with civil rights advocacy groups on the issue. 

12:53 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your questions about the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict — and what comes next

Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty yesterday of all three charges against him in the killing of George Floyd. Chauvin is now in jail awaiting sentencing, which will be in eight weeks.

CNN correspondent Miguel Marquez is on the ground in Minneapolis, and he answered some of your questions about the verdict and what comes next.


1:01 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Harris: "I haven't made a decision" on whether to back compromise on qualified immunity in policing bill

From CNN's Manu Raju

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on April 20 at the White House in Washington, DC.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on April 20 at the White House in Washington, DC. Evan Vucci/AP

CNN's Manu Raju just asked Vice President Kamala Harris if she's open to compromise on the issue of qualified immunity, a key sticking point in the talks over a police reform bill, as Democrats seek to make it easier to sue police officers in civil court.

"I need to be fully briefed on it," she said when CNN asked if she's open to compromise on the issue. "I haven't made a decision about it. But as you know, I was part of the language -- I helped write the language."

Harris made her comments as she was leaving the Senate.

1:07 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Minneapolis mayor welcomes DOJ investigation, says city must seize this "generational opportunity"

From CNN's Adrienne Broaddus and Jenn Selva

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Minneapolis on May 27, 2020.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Minneapolis on May 27, 2020. Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio/AP

Mayor Jacob Frey said Wednesday he welcomes the Justice Department's probe into policing practices in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd and murder conviction of former officer Derek Chauvin.

“We welcome the investigation as an opportunity to continue working toward deep change and accountability in the Minneapolis Police Department," Frey said in a statement.

“This is a defining moment of truth and reconciliation in America. George Floyd’s life mattered just as Daunte Wright’s, Breonna Taylor’s, and so many others did. We have a generational opportunity to do better by the Black community, and the only way to seize it is through bold action," Frey added.

The Minneapolis City Council released a statement saying their oversight of the police department is limited and they are also welcoming the DOJ investigation.

“As we did when the Minnesota Department of Human Rights brought a similar civil investigation, we welcome the opportunity for the Department of Justice to use the full weight of its authority to hold the Minneapolis Police Department accountable for any and all abuses of power and harms to our community and stand ready to aid in this process as full partners,” the statement said.

Some background: Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a civil investigation into the Minneapolis Police department on Wednesday. It will look in to how officers are trained, what policies are in place and how the department handles use-of-force investigations. DOJ personnel will also talk to members of the community about their interactions with officers, according to Garland.

He said it is separate from and independent of the federal criminal investigation into the death of George Floyd that the Justice Department has previously announced.

12:19 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Republican senator says discussions on a police reform proposal will be "wrapping" soon

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

Sen. Tim Scott departs the U.S. Capitol on February 13 in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Tim Scott departs the U.S. Capitol on February 13 in Washington, D.C. Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Tim Scott told reporters he believes discussions on a police reform proposal are "on the verge of wrapping" soon.

"I think we are on the verge of wrapping this up in the next a week or two, depending on how quickly they respond to our suggestions," Scott said.

On qualified immunity, which protects police officers in civil court, Scott said he'd rather see a police department sued for an issue rather than a police officer.

He said he has been talking to Sen. Corey Booker and other lawmakers across the aisle about that change and that it is "something that the Democrats are quite receptive to."

"I think that is a way that we can make progress towards a bill that actually has the kind of impact that I think is helpful." he said.

11:55 a.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Chauvin guilty verdict is a "step in the right direction," says George Floyd's cousin

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

George Floyd’s cousin and aunt said they feel a sense of relief after former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in Floyd’s murder. 

“We were just so relieved, because historically, we don't get this justice, we just don’t,” Angela Harrelson, Floyd’s aunt, said to CNN’s Kate Bolduan. 

Paris Stevens, Floyd’s cousin, said the family was awake most of the night discussing the trial.

“It's just been a whirlwind, and I'm just glad this part of the journey is over. But … we will continue on. There's more work to do,” she said.

Stevens said that police reform is still needed.

“We want police to do their job and to serve and protect, but are we using the excessive force or can we de-escalate another way? We don't want it to always end in death. And all police officers do not have ill intentions. We know that. But correction has to be made. And with this guilty verdict, it's a step in the right direction that those who act ill-advised will be sentenced and held accountable,” Stevens said. 

Harrelson said the world showed her family “so much love.”

“That love overshadowed the hate. It will always overshadow hate, and the process of forgiving needs to start,” she said. 


12:42 p.m. ET, April 21, 2021

Schumer: Senate "will not rest" until Congress passes "strong legislation" to end systemic bias in policing

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, April 21.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, April 21. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that the Senate “will not rest” until Congress passes “strong legislation to end the systemic bias in law enforcement.”

He said: “We should not mistake a guilty verdict” in the Chauvin trial “as evidence that the persistent problem of police misconduct has been solved, or that the divide between law enforcement and so many of the communities they serve has been bridged, it has not.”

He added that Congress must remain diligent to meaningfully reform police departments, their training and the “legal protections that grant too great a shield to police officers guilty of misconduct.”

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has already passed the US House of Representatives. It now needs a debate and a vote in the US Senate. The legislation in that chamber 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

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."

On Derek Chauvin being found guilty of murdering George Floyd, Schumer said the verdict confirmed what was “plain” to the millions who watched the video of his killing.

“This guilty verdict serves as an official proclamation of what so many of us have known for nearly a year: George Floyd was murdered by an officer who was sworn to protect and to serve,” he said.

CNN's Clare Foran contributed reporting to this post.