George Floyd's Family and the Nation Breathe a Sigh of Relief After Trial Verdict

Getty Images
People celebrate at George Floyd Square after the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 20, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Getty Images

Derek Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder.

After a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd, his family have said they feel some level of relief.

"Today, we are able to breathe again," Philonise Floyd told reporters.

Chauvin, 45. was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, one count of third-degree murder and one count of second-degree manslaughter. The jurors — six white people, four Black people and two multiracial individuals — were sequestered in a hotel and deliberated for just over 10 hours to reach their decision after three weeks of testimony.

In a May 25 arrest, Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly told officers he could not breathe, resulting in his death. Police had been called because Floyd allegedly used a counterfeit $20 to pay for items at a convenience store.

Protesters that had been waiting for a verdict on the streets of Minneapolis broke out in cheers and celebrations at the decision, but the attorney for Floyd’s family, Benjamin Crump, said the verdict is “painfully earned justice.”

"Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd's family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today's verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world," Crump said. "This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”

Floyd’s death led to a resurgence of the Black Lives Matters movement, with protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the world.

“We have to always understand that we have to march. We will have to do this for life," Philonise Floyd said. "We have to protest because it seems like this is a never-ending cycle.”

Darnella Frazier, the teen that filmed the murder of George Floyd, said she cried when Chauvin was found guilty.

“I just cried so hard,” Frazier said. “This last hour my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious, anxiety bussing (sic) through the roof… Although no amount of charges will bring back a loved one, justice was served and his murderer will pay the price. We did it.”

President Joe Biden said that America “can’t stop here” in a speech Tuesday, hours after the verdict. Biden called on Congress to address police reform and called for the passage of a George Floyd Justice Policing Act. The bill, which cleared in the House in March, aims to hold police accountable and keep records of officers with a formal history of misconduct.

"We can't leave this moment or look away thinking our work is done. We have to look at it as we did for those nine minutes and 29 seconds," he said

Terrence Floyd, one of George’s brothers, called the verdict “monumental.”

"I will salute him every day of my life. He showed me how to be strong," Terrence Floyd said. "He showed me how to be respectful. He showed me how to speak my mind. I'm going to miss him, but now I know he's in history. What a day to be a Floyd, man."