"It was pivotal for me, my family, the world" - America reacts to Derek Chauvin's conviction


'It was pivotal for me, my family, the world.' George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd spoke of the importance of last nights events which saw Derek Chauvin convicted of second - and third-degree murder charges, as well as second-degree manslaughter.

The trial began at the end of March and was expected to last for at least one month. It featured the testimony of police, first responders, witnesses and Philonise himself, in addition to Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross

On Monday, Judge Peter Cahill, who oversaw the trial, advised jurors to "plan for long and hope for short" in preparation of what he expected to be a lengthy deliberation process. Despite this, the 12-member jury reached a verdict around midday Tuesday - the first full day of deliberations. The belief in their conviction is one that has been shared by the world since May 25, last year, and the 8:46 minutes of murder that brought the life of another Black man to an end by the hands of law enforcement. 

Outside the court in Minneapolis, the verdict galvanised an eruption of joy, sadness, and relief. Crowds screamed ‘George Floyd’ in unison and these cries were mirrored in Missouri, Florida, and countless other States as people hugged and embraced. For some, it will likely have represented a unique moment of catharsis. One hinged on accountability but more than likely tainted by a willingness to do away with the same institutions upholding the cultures of police impunity and white supremacy altogether. Twelve months of debate featuring calls to defund the police have at the very least kept the conversation of some sort of change alive.

Part of the outpouring would have also come from the fact that this sort of ruling is a rarity. A database maintained by the criminologist Phillip Stinson counts 140 cases since 2005, where police have been arrested on charges of murder or manslaughter as a result of 'on-duty shooting'. 97 have concluded, of which only seven have resulted in murder convictions.

Since his death, his family has worked tirelessly to build networks promoting civic engagement, voter registration and more opportunities for young Black men. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act also hopes to limit the powers of law enforcement and heighten on-the-job surveillance, though it has been criticised for not going far enough despite steps to improve last year’s iteration.

The declarations from George Floyd's family show that it has been a monumentally important 48 hours, after a year which has been difficult beyond words.

"Although a verdict alone cannot end their pain, I hope it's another step on the long path toward healing for them."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

Mayowa Ayodele


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