Updated: May 1, 2021
by Tyler Williams
In this video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, arrive for the verdict in Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges raised against him in the killing of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. In eight weeks, Chauvin will be handed his sentence.
According to ABC News, under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, for a person with no criminal history, each murder charge carries a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 years while a manslaughter conviction has a presumptive sentence of four years. Furthermore, each count carries a different maximum sentence -- 40 years for second-degree unintentional murder, 25 years for third-degree murder, and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.
The Wall Street Journal reports that many people across the U.S. heralded the rare conviction of a police officer as a victory in the effort to combat police violence against people of color, even as they stated there was still work to do. For many Black Americans, the conviction inspired feelings of relief and a sense that the verdict might have been an anomaly. ABC 7 Chicago reported reactions to the conviction ranged from relief to excitement, yet they’re still aware that there is a need for justice as this is a case of accountability. The reactions came from politicians, celebrities, family, and loved ones.
“President Biden and VP Kamala Harris call the Floyd family after the GUILTY verdict! Thank you @POTUS & @VP for your support! We hope that we can count on you for the police reform we NEED in America!”✊🏾 — Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 20, 2021
“Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.” — former President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 20, 2021
“The jury's verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd. Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person.” —Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 20, 2021
(George Floyd’s family members watching the verdict. ABC News Go.)
According to AllSides, voices in left-rated outlets focused on the pain of Black communities and the impact of the trial on the wider racial justice movement. Voices in right-rated outlets criticized Waters and Biden, with some supporting the verdict and some opposing it.
The Orange County Register reports how Chauvin was convicted with murder and manslaughter at the same time. Mario Mainero, a professor at the Dale E. Fowler law school at Chapman University in Orange says the following: “First, the jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder while not intending to kill Floyd, but intending to commit felony assault. The next charge was third-degree murder with reckless disregard, meaning Chauvin had to know that putting his weight on Floyd’s neck could cause death, but he didn’t care”, Mainero said. “Last, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter with gross negligence. Again, there was no intent to kill, but Chauvin’s actions were done with a high degree of negligence, causing a danger to Floyd’s safety”, Mainero added.
The National Review states that Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation into potentially “unconstitutional” practices at the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The guilty verdict against former officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of resident George Floyd “does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis,” Garland said during a Wednesday address. “Today, I am announcing that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis police department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” Garland told reporters.
The investigation will be staffed by attorneys from the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. “The attorney general stated the new investigation will assess whether the MPD ‘engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force,’ as well as the force’s ‘current systems of accountability’ for officers accused of misconduct”, the National Review says.
“I know that justice is slow, sometimes elusive, and sometimes never comes,” Garland said. “The Justice Department will be unwavering in its pursuit of equal justice under law.”
(Former NBA player, Stephen Jackson, bottom, carrying Gianna Floyd, daughter of late George Floyd, top. “Daddy changed the world”, says Gianna Floyd. @_stak5_ INSTAGRAM)
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