Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three counts by a Minnesota jury Tuesday for the murder of George Floyd. Floyd’s murder set off a massive wave of protests and thrust America’s endemic and persistent racism, as well as the epidemic of nearly-unchecked police brutality, into the political and cultural spotlight. The conviction of a white police officer for the murder of a Black person is exceedingly rare and Chauvin’s conviction is the exception that proves the general rule that white officers are effectively allowed to kill with impunity. The verdict was met with relief, if not elation, across the country.
President Biden said after the verdict, “It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off the whole world to see” adding that the conviction was “much too rare” and though it could be “a giant step forward,” it was “not enough” to confront racism in America. “This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video,” prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher told jurors in closing arguments, referring to footage recorded by Darnella Frazier, 17 years-old at the time, showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 26 seconds. “It is exactly that. You can believe your eyes.”
Police violence continues
Just 20 minutes before Chauvin’s verdict was read, Columbus Ohio cops shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant just 10 seconds after jumping out of their patrol cars. Protesters immediately gathered near the scene. “We don’t get to celebrate nothing,” K.C. Taynor said through a megaphone of the Chauvin verdict. “…In the end, you know what, you can’t be Black.”
(Verdict: Star Tribune, MPR, NewsOne, The Root, The Grio, Blavity, Atlanta Black Star, AP, NPR, Washington Post $, HuffPost, Wall Street Journal $, NBC, CBS, Buzzfeed, TIME, New York Times $, Bloomberg $, Teen Vogue, The 19th* News); Rule proving exception: The Atlantic, New York Times $, NewsOne, HuffPost, Washington Post $, Cosmopolitan; Reaction: MPR, NewsOne, AP, LA Times $, Star Tribune, Washington Post $, Politico, Wall Street Journal $, Buzzfeed, NPR, New York Times $ (Photos), NBC, HuffPost, NPR); Biden: (AP, NBC; Global reaction: Bloomberg $; Darnella Frazier: Star Tribune $, The 19th News, New York Times $; Ma’Khia Bryant: Buzzfeed, Columbus Dispatch, HuffPost, Bloomberg $)