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After Chauvin Verdict, Police React With Relief and Some Resentment

Author John Eligon and Shaila Dewan
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

MINNEAPOLIS — It was shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and all chatter ceased in the roll-call room for the Fourth Police Precinct in North Minneapolis. Everyone’s attention was glued to the television on the wall.

Then came the verdict: Derek Chauvin was guilty on all counts, including murder, for killing George Floyd last May. The station house stayed silent, the officers processing what the verdict meant after a year of tension and conflict, said Inspector Charles Adams, the precinct’s commanding officer.

“It was just like, wow,” Inspector Adams said.

For him, it was a relief — he felt that Mr. Chauvin had been wrong and that his actions, kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, cast a negative light on policing.

But the verdict did little to end months of upheaval and anxiety in his profession.

“So much is being thrown at us as law enforcement officials,” Inspector Adams said. “We’re unsure how we’re going to police in the future.”

Police chiefs and unions across the country condemned Mr. Chauvin’s actions and applauded the jury’s verdict, but not always with the same zeal or for the same reasons. Some said they hoped it would restore faith in the criminal justice system. Others said it would help keep the peace. And still others indicated that it would clear the way for “honest discussion” about policing.

The feelings of rank-and-file officers were more complicated: a mix of relief, resentment at being vilified alongside Mr. Chauvin and unsettling thoughts of themselves in his shoes.

“They’re thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to think long and hard before I get out of my car and get into something I don’t have to get into,’” said Jim Pasco, the executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police.

In the Minneapolis station house, Inspector Adams heard of remarks from a few rank-and-file officers who believed the defense’s argument that drugs killed Mr. Floyd and that Mr. Chauvin had followed his training.

“Some just think he got a raw deal,” Inspector Adams said. “But there’s a lot of them who think he was guilty, too.”

The full extent of the fallout for Mr. Chauvin will be known on June 16, when he is scheduled to be sentenced.

He is being held alone in a cell in a maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., a Twin Cities suburb. He is allowed out for exercise for only an hour each day. Even then, he is kept away from other inmates. Prison officials said Mr. Chauvin was being kept in solitary for his own safety.

Outside the Twin Cities, in rural communities where “Back the Blue” banners hang in storefronts, Mr. Chauvin’s trial at times seemed a world away. There, largely white police departments patrol largely white communities, and residents are often friends or relatives of law enforcement officers.

In Gilbert, Minn., a community of about 2,000 three hours north of Minneapolis, Ty Techar, the police chief, said he watched only about an hour of the trial and 30 seconds of the body-camera footage. While he said that what Mr. Chauvin did would be unacceptable in his department, he stopped short of saying he agreed with the verdict.

“For me to sit here and make a judgment on whether he got a fair trial, I don’t know all the evidence,” he said. “I haven’t looked at it closely enough.”

He added: “Is it second-degree murder or manslaughter? I don’t know much about the case.”

Police unions historically have been the staunchest defenders of officers, even those accused of wrongdoing. They did not defend Mr. Chauvin, but some used the verdict as an occasion to criticize public figures who have scrutinized the police.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement that it wanted “to reach out to the community and still express our deep remorse for their pain” and that “there are no winners in this case.”

“We need the political pandering to stop and the race-baiting of elected officials to stop,” the statement said. “In addition, we need to stop the divisive comments and we all need to do better to create a Minneapolis we all love.”

Police and union officials have argued that the consistent pressure some community members and elected leaders place on law enforcement can be a detriment.

In Minneapolis, there are several efforts to significantly downsize the Police Department and create a new public safety division. The governor of Minnesota has come out in support of a bill to limit police traffic stops for minor infractions. The Justice Department on Wednesday announced a broad civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.

Inspector Adams said that several officers were now hesitant to perform even some of the most basic duties like traffic stops, worrying that such situations might escalate and get them in trouble.

In New York, a union leader seemed to play on such anxieties.

“It is hard to imagine a tougher time to be a member of the law enforcement profession,” Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, wrote in a letter after the verdict was announced. He warned members that their every action was being recorded and that “scores of attorneys” were eager to sue them.

“Our elected officials are complicit in perpetuating the myth that we are the enemy,” he added.

Attitudes like that, activists said, speak to the resistance of law enforcement to be held accountable and allow police abuses to continue.

Some police officials said the backlash to Mr. Chauvin’s actions actually provided an opportunity to improve.

“I think it takes us a step closer toward reform,” said Michael S. Harrison, Baltimore’s police commissioner. “It doesn’t make it harder to do our jobs. It makes it where we have to train better, and use best practices and we have to do our job the right way.”

The guilty verdict was a significant reminder for officers to stay within their training, said Rick Smith, the police chief in Kansas City, Mo.

“I think officers understand that going outside the norms leads to potential issues,” he said. “And this one highlighted that in the hundredth degree across the nation.”

Inspector Adams said he believed that the judicial process ultimately helped the profession regain some of its credibility. Nine current and retired members of the Minneapolis Police Department testified against Mr. Chauvin at trial, including the police chief.

That testimony, Inspector Adams said, showed the public that Mr. Chauvin was not representative of the Minneapolis police. The prosecution’s assertion during closing arguments that its case was against Mr. Chauvin, not the police, also helped, he said.

After Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that Mr. Chauvin acted outside of department policy, Inspector Adams said he texted him to say he was proud to belong to his staff.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Eric Killelea contributed reporting from Minneapolis. Kim Barker and Ali Watkins also contributed reporting.

Derek Chauvin Verdict Brings a Rare Rebuke of Police Misconduct

“May it please the court. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning. The video evidence, I think, will be very helpful and meaningful to you because you can see it for yourself without lawyer talk, lawyer spin, lawyer anything. You can see it for yourself.” “Please. Please. I can’t breathe. Please, man. Please somebody help me. Please. I’m about to die in this thing.” “Oh my God.” “What did he say?” “He said, I’m about to die. Oh my God.” “While watching the George Floyd trial, I noticed the differences and the importance of footage.” “This corner —” “When Stephon was murdered, we only had the officers’ footage. We only had their point of view.” “Hey, show your hands.” “You know, when my son was killed being on the platform, there was several bystanders that filmed. And had it not been for the cameras, we wouldn’t even be here today because they would have probably said it was justified.” “Bro, with your feet on his head, man. You knee on his neck.” “He’s pushing harder.” “Yeah.” “I cannot breathe.” “A little bit more. Right here.” “I don’t watch the footage of my dad’s incident because it’s torture.” “You see the officers giving a trove of blows to his body?” “Yes.” “To his arms, to his torso, to his legs.” “Here it is 30 years later, nothing has changed.” “Now who are you going to believe? The defendants or your own eyes?” “I am watching the George Floyd case with my best friend, Tiffany, at her home.” “Oh my gosh.” “Wow.” “And he’s still on his neck.” “Today was the first time I watched the entire video of George Floyd, and it definitely made me think about my dad begging for his life screaming.” “Check his pulse. Check his pulse.” “His daughter was the same age I was when my dad was beaten.” “My name is Lora Dene King. I’m the middle child of Rodney Glen King.” “The world saw the videotape.” “We thought the video showed excessive force and unnecessary force.” “With that videotape, if they had two eyes and they weren’t blind, you could see that it was excessive force.” “The defense tried to dilute the impact of the tape by dissecting it, frame by frame, in an effort to show that King was a threat to the officers.” “He kind of gave out like a bear-like yell, like a wounded animal. If he had grabbed my officer, it would have been a death grip. If he had grabbed the weapon, he would have had numerous targets.” “He didn’t grab anybody during these events, did he?” “No sir, he did not.” “He couldn’t walk. He had 50 broken bones. His skull was permanently fractured. He had permanent brain damage. My dad was never the same after that. You know, and everybody just considered him to be normal. I think if that happened to anybody, they wouldn’t be normal ever again.” “This doesn’t just affect the person it happened to. It also affects all those people who are out there watching it. They’re all affected forever.” “I was desperate to help.” “I was just kind of emotional, and I went to the African-American that was standing there on the curb. And I was just like, they’re not going to help them.” “Oh my God.” “This man, he witnessed another African-American man getting his life taken. The nine-year-old speaker on the trial.” “Good morning, [inaudible].” “Good morning.” “Which one is you?” “Just so happened to be walking down the street. She will never forget that for the rest of her life.” “You ultimately ended up posting your video to social media, right?” “Correct.” “And it went viral?” “Correct.” “It changed your life, right?” “The girl who filmed George Floyd, the fact that there was nothing she can do to save his life.” “It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more.” “That’s something that will haunt her like George Holliday, who captured my dad’s video.” “Without George Holliday, these four officers might not be on trial.” “He just wanted to test this new camera he had. Like, oh let me take — he stood there shaking, terrified. And he still suffers to this day because that was the right thing to do.” “What could he have done to deserve that?” “If I was to see George Floyd’s daughter today, I wish there was something I can say. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. Because I’m sure she’s watched that videotape. And that’s something that carries in your mental every everyday, just like my dad’s video tape.” “For the jury, a difficult decision ahead, knowing that to acquit the four officers could ignite this city.” “Not guilty of —” Chanting: “No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.” “And damage to the city of Los Angeles running into billions of dollars.” “That’s what I’m saying. The police, they don’t pay a cent for this trial. So my mother and I, we was watching the George Floyd’s trial. And it brought back so many memories of my son Oscar’s case. Oscar’s last picture in his cellphone was of the officer who shot him.” “My name is Wanda Johnson. I’m the mother of Oscar Grant.” “Grant was shot once in the back as he lay face down on the train station’s platform.” “He was unarmed.” “The 27-year-old officer has said he thought he had drawn his Taser gun —” “— but accidentally pulled out his handgun instead.” “And the incident was captured on cellphone video.” “Video speaks for themselves. And the jury will see that and make the correct decision.” “We knew that we would have a very hard time winning in the court systems because the judicial system was not made for everyone in the society.” “As the situation went on, the crowd began to grow and grow.” “Oh my goodness, the same playbook that they used for what happened with Oscar, they used the same thing for George Floyd. Oh, there was a crowd of angry mob people.” “They were behind them. There were people across the street, people yelling.” “We don’t know if they were going to attack us. I thought about the young man testifying in George Floyd’s case.” “You grew angrier and angrier.” “Calling the police on the police.” “911, what’s the address of the emergency?” “How do you have somebody investigate those that they work with? Of course you’re going to find that they’re going to believe the people that they work with quicker than they will believe the citizens who are filing the complaint.” “Would you like to speak with those sergeants?” “Yeah, I’d like to. He was unresponsive. He wasn’t resisting arrest or any of this.” “OK, one second.” “Murderers, bro. Y’all are just murderers, bro.” “You know, when we was going to jury trial for Oscar, they would ask questions like, ‘Do you know anybody who went to jail? Do you know anybody who had an encounter with the police?’ And as soon as the person said that, they would strike them from being a juror, right? Having a jury that consists of different backgrounds, it could help with the decision-making of innocent or guilty.” “The 27-year-old officer —” “— pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.” “His trial had been moved to Los Angeles over concerns of racial tension and intense media scrutiny.” “Everybody, let’s just pray for one minute.” “Father God, we come to you and your son named Jesus Christ. Father, we ask the people that see this —” “Every time I come to my mom’s house, I’m reminded that my son was killed here.” “My name is Sequette Clark. I’m the mother of Stephon Clark.” “22-year-old Stephon Clark was fatally shot while running from police.” “Clark was see evading authorities after allegedly smashing a car window.” “He was shot eight times in his grandmother’s backyard.” “Police apparently thinking he was holding a gun, now say it was a cellphone.” “Out of fear for their own lives, they fired their service weapon.” “And following the incident, officers manually muted their body cameras at times.” “Move over this way.” “As we watched the George Floyd trial, I invited particular members of my family because you can’t address something in the community or the city or the nation until you address it at home with the family.” “When Mr. Floyd was in distress, Mr. Chauvin wouldn’t help him, didn’t help him.” “So that’s just how they left my boy out there. They handcuffed him after he was dead.” “Excessive force.” “Excessive force and lethal force after the fact of death. I felt saddened, heavy, drained. I felt as if I was a slave 400 years ago. Just hearing how he was dead, seeing how he was dead. And then to turn around and hear the defense’s attempt to bring up the fact that we should not focus on the —” “— 9 minutes and 29 seconds —” “— that it took to kill George Floyd. But we should focus on what went on ahead of that. Anything that does not deal directly with the murder of George Floyd is irrelevant in my opinion.” “He’s 6 to 6 and a half feet tall. You did not know that he had taken heroin. Mr. Floyd did use a counterfeit $ 20 bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Mr. Floyd put drugs in his mouth.” “Poppa’s already dead. George Floyd is already dead.” “That’s right. That’s right.” “So now you’re resurrecting him just to kill him all over again.” “Basically.” “Defame him in order to justify the wrongdoing of your officers, reminded me exactly of what the district attorney did to Stephon.” “The cellphone examination revealed a domestic violence incident that happened with the mother of his children. Texts and phone calls showing that he was seeking drugs and a photograph of his hand holding 10 Xanax pills.” “What was on his cellphone has zero to do with the actions of the police officers at the time of his homicide. I feel like it’s a bittersweet thing that’s happening watching the George Floyd trial. Because I’m optimistic that this is a piece of justice for the death of my son.” “We might not be here. They’re going to get him. They’re going to get him.” “Was a crime committed? The answer to that question is no. And as a result, we will not charge these officers with any criminal liability related to the shooting death or the use of force of Stephon Clark.” “April 14, 1991: King fights emotional and physical scars. So this is basically a photo album book of my dad’s newspaper articles since he’s been in the news. Years and years and years. You throw someone to the wolves and you expect them to be normal. You know, there’s no such thing as normal after that. And then, can you imagine how many Rodney Kings there is that never got videotaped? There’s plenty of them.” “I would have prayed and hoped that Oscar’s trial would have been televised because America has to really look in the mirror and say, ‘Are all people being treated equally?’” “There was excessive use of force against George Floyd —” “We’re not focused on the videotape, his toxicology, his heart condition. We’re focused on the fact that several people witnessed this man get murdered.” “You can see it with our own eyes. It’s crazy.” “People don’t realize what it does to your family. It’s bigger than just a trial and this officer. We never get to see them again. We never get to smell them again and kiss them again. Our lives are completely affected forever.”

Author John Eligon, Tim Arango, Shaila Dewan and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Chauvin trial reactions: Texas leaders share what the guilty verdict means to them

Author Russell Falcon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sen. Royce West stood in his office in the Texas Capitol, eyes glued to the television screen as the judge in Derek Chauvin’s trial read out the verdict: guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd.

“What’s crossing my mind is the system actually worked for a change, and I think that maybe, and hopefully this will lower the temperature some in this country and in this state as it relates to these types of issues,” said the Democratic senator who introduced a bill this legislative session called the “George Floyd Act” which, among other things, would ban police officers’ use of chokeholds.

The jury determined former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin’s actions during the arrest of Floyd led to his death. It convicted him on second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

West said the “surge of evidence” made it clear to both him and the jury that Chauvin didn’t follow police procedures and policies.

“You can’t sit up and tell me that a person puts his knee on someone’s neck for nine minutes and not know what he’s doing. It was real clear that the jury felt the same way, because they came back after what — 11 hours. It was real clear on all the different counts,” West said.

Chauvin will be sentenced in about eight weeks.

As the news of the conviction on all counts for Chauvin was announced, state and local leaders’ reactions began pouring in.

The Texas Democrats’ statement focused on the sense of solace the verdict provides and reflected on the millions of people who protested “in collective grief and outrage” at Floyd’s death last summer. But, it also called out the deep need to keep addressing inequalities of the justice system.

“Today’s verdict is a small step towards the dismantling of the gargantuan barrier that has prevented justice for so many families and communities affected by this national epidemic of senseless killing of Black Americans. It is a small step towards healing,” Texas Democratic Party Bice Chair Dr. Carla Brailey said.

Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn haven’t shared a specific reaction to the verdict as of an hour after it was read. Neither has Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Meanwhile, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump immediately tweeted:

“GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!”

Crump said President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden called Floyd’s family after the verdict was read.

Lewis Hamilton gives strong response to murder verdict in the trial of George Floyd

Author
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

“But this is just one step on the path towards a more equal society. Since George’s death, so many other Black people have died at the hands of the police and we must ensure the momentum of today continues. The fight isn’t over, and there is more to be done, but we can consider today a glimmer of hope.

“My thoughts and prayers are with George’s family. I hope they will feel a sense of peace from this result. #BlackLivesMatter”

Meanwhile, the only black driver in NASCAR’S top series Bubba Wallace, gave his reaction to the news.

“Justice served on all counts. Good. Still a ton of work to do. Continue to rest peacefully #GeorgeFloyd”

Austin activists say Chauvin verdict offers hope for Mike Ramos case

Author Tahera Rahman
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Austin activists say Chauvin verdict offers hope for Mike Ramos case

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some Black Lives Matter advocates in Austin are celebrating former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction Tuesday.

“Today is just a huge sigh of relief,” said Chas Moore, executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition.

“It’s not a relief, because he’s going to jail,” he added, saying that’s part of the system they’re hoping to reform. “It’s a sigh of relief, because it says that, you know, today, it’s true that Black lives do matter. And when you break that truth, you’ll be held accountable.”

Moore hopes Tuesday’s conviction of Chauvin for murdering George Floyd is a sign for future cases.

He told KXAN he was already thinking about the impending trial of Austin police officer Christopher Taylor. A grand jury indicted him last month for the deadly shooting of Mike Ramos.

“I literally just got a text message from Brenda Ramos, the mother of Mike Ramos. She was, you know, elated to see the verdict. So, I think she’s feeling really reenergized. I think she’s feeling hopeful — as am I,” Moore said.

KXAN turned to an expert on criminal law and justice for perspective.

“It remains rare to see criminal convictions of police officers for the use of force and even rarer to see murder convictions for police officers for the use of force,” said Jennifer Laurin, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

Laurin said while the verdict out of Minnesota has no legal bearing on use-of-force cases here, she thinks it’s still a learning moment for many prosecutors.

“Noting what sorts of strategies seem to be persuasive, learning about which experts are potentially more or less persuasive witnesses,” Laurin explained. “I think that prosecutors, even outside the particular jurisdiction in which the case occurs, watch these cases to learn more about how they might make a more persuasive presentation to a particular jury.”

She also notes the unusual nature of Minnesota law that helped prosecutors win their case.

“Second-degree murder in Minnesota can be proved through a theory called ‘felony murder,’ and it can be proved based on the jury believing that an assault occurred and that an individual died in the course of that assault,” said Laurin.

Laurin said that makes murder and felony murder a broader offense in Minnesota than in other places, including, she believes, in Texas.

“I think that has to be seen as part of the story for why the prosecution’s path to conviction in this case was actually — as difficult as it was — easier than it would be in many other jurisdictions where a particular theory on which they prevailed would not have been available,” she said.

That means in other jurisdictions, prosecutors would “have to prove more with respect to the seriousness of the felony and the manner in which it was committed,” she said.

Taylor’s grand jury indictment is the first known indictment of an Austin police officer for first-degree murder resulting from a use-of-force incident, according to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.

There’s no timeline yet for when that trial will begin.

In Photos: America Reacts to the Derek Chauvin Verdict

Author
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Cheers erupted in Minneapolis on Tuesday after a jury found the former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May.

The verdict capped a three-week trial that captivated America. With often-emotional testimony, prosecutors sought to highlight who Mr. Floyd was, repeatedly playing the widely viewed bystander footage of his death and arguing that Mr. Chauvin knew he was harming the man whose neck he was kneeling on, but did not stop.

During a news conference after the decision was announced, Mr. Floyd’s family and supporters celebrated but noted how rarely officers are convicted after using lethal force. Many mentioned Daunte Wright, a Black man who was fatally shot by a white officer during Mr. Chauvin’s trial.

“He should still be here,” Mr. Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said of Mr. Wright. “We have to march. We will have to do this for life. We have to protest because it seems like this is a never-ending cycle.”

The Times positioned photographers around the country to capture reactions to the verdict. Here’s what they saw.

— Aidan Gardiner

In Minneapolis, people watched a live feed of the courtroom on a phone.

In Minneapolis, demonstrators gathered outside the Hennepin Country Government Center, where the trial was held.

In Houston, where George Floyd grew up, television coverage of the trial drew viewers.

In Minneapolis, the crowd outside the Hennepin County Government Center erupted with joy.

At George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, a sign was updated near the memorial at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue where Mr. Floyd was killed.

In Minneapolis, protesters celebrated the guilty verdict.

In Houston, Dennis Glenn and Greg Brown, alumni of Jack Yates High School, Mr. Floyd’s alma mater, comforted Ceci Munoz in front of the school.

In Minneapolis, Courteney Ross, Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend, cheered outside the Hennepin County Government Center after the verdict.

In Washington, members of the Congressional Black Caucus walked down the Capitol steps to address reporters.

In Minneapolis, Philonise Floyd, left, a brother of George Floyd, wiped a tear. At right, Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, held the hand of Donald Williams, who witnessed the episode last May.

In Washington, Vice President Kamala Harris and President Biden addressed the nation from the White House.

In Minneapolis, a band played at George Floyd Square.

In Los Angeles, demonstrators celebrated from a street corner.

In Minneapolis, onlookers embraced.

In Washington, the guilty verdict prompted dancing.

In Minneapolis, a demonstrator stood on top of a car.

In Minneapolis, even grills were taken to the area near George Floyd Square.

In Chicago, where last week officials released video of Officer Eric Stillman fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a small group protested at the Richard J. Daley Center.

In New York, people consoled each other outside Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

In Minneapolis, demonstrators held picket signs with Mr. Floyd’s face outside the Hennepin County Government Center.

In San Francisco, protesters gathered at the 24th and Mission BART station to celebrate the verdict and protest police brutality.

In New York, demonstrators knelt in solidarity with Mr. Floyd in the glow of Times Square.

Produced by Heather Casey, Sarah Eckinger, Rebecca Halleck and Jennifer Mosbrucker

Lewis Hamilton talks 'hard to describe' emotions after 'monumental' Derek Chauvin verdict

Author
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Lewis Hamilton was among those overjoyed at the verdict of Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty on all charges – second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter – in connection with the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last year. The jury deliberated for 10 hours before reaching their decision, something the F1 driver described as a “monumental” moment in history.
Taking to Instagram following the news, he penned: “JUSTICE for George! The emotions I feel right now are hard to describe.”

He went on to note that this is the first time that a white officer has been convicted for killing a black man in Minnesota.

“This is monumental, George’s death is not in vain,” he stated.

“The result of the Derek Chauvin trial today is the right one. Convicting him of all three charges marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice.”

READ MORE: Dan Walker speaks out on BBC Breakfast future ‘Didn’t think I’d last’

Hamilton believed the trial was an “opportunity for the justice system to hold Derek Chauvin accountable for his actions”, before saying: “We can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the right decision has been met, and that justice has been served.

“Today’s outcome is a sombre victory for George and his family, but it shows that our efforts to promote justice are not in vain.

“Black voices have been heard and action is happening. When we stand together, we can make a difference.”

The racing World Champion has campaigned for equality throughout his career and he pointed out this moment “is just one step on the path towards a more equal society”.

Recently, Hamilton pledged to “keep pushing” in the fight against racism, saying it was important “to hold ourselves and others accountable”.

The racer, who led Formula 1’s pre-race demonstrations promoting equality last year, revealed he was “proud” of the fact the majority of drivers had taken the knee before races last year in solidarity.

But he added: “My question is, what’s next? The inequities within our sport and within the world persist.”

Writing in a post on social media, said: “Change is still needed. We have to keep striving for equality for all, in order to continue to see true and lasting change in our world.

“As long as I have air in my lungs, I will continue to fight for change in everything I do. I will work to create pathways and opportunities for kids of colour within sciences, engineering and creative disciplines.”

Last year, Hamilton set up his own commission to investigate the causes of the lack of diversity within the motorsport industry.

As part of his new, one-year contract signed with Mercedes, he and his team have created a joint foundation to support the cause.

Derek Chauvin verdict: Jury finds ex-cop guilty of murder, manslaughter in George Floyd’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — After three weeks of testimony, the trial of the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd ended swiftly: barely over a day of jury deliberations, then just minutes for the verdicts to be read – guilty, guilty and guilty – and Derek Chauvin was handcuffed and taken away to prison.

Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades when he is sentenced in about two months in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.

VIDEO: Judge reads guilty verdicts in Derek Chauvin case | Click here for more about the charges

The verdict set off jubilation mixed with sorrow across the city and around the nation. Hundreds of people poured into the streets of Minneapolis, some running through traffic with banners. Drivers blared their horns in celebration.

“Today, we are able to breathe again,” Floyd’s younger brother Philonise said at a joyous family news conference where tears streamed down his face as he likened Floyd to the 1955 Mississippi lynching victim Emmett Till, except that this time there were cameras around to show the world what happened.

The jury of six whites and six Black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. The now-fired white officer was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin’s face was obscured by a COVID-19 mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond his eyes darting around the courtroom. His bail was immediately revoked. Sentencing will be in two months; the most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson followed Chauvin out of the courtroom without comment.

VIDEO: Biden, Harris react to Chauvin verdict

President Joe Biden welcomed the verdict, saying Floyd’s death was “a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world” to see systemic racism.

But he warned: “It’s not enough. We can’t stop here. We’re going to deliver real change and reform. We can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen again.”

The jury’s decision was hailed around the country as justice by other political and civic leaders and celebrities, including former President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a white man, who said on Twitter that Floyd “would still be alive if he looked like me. That must change.”

At a park next to the Minneapolis courthouse, a hush fell over a crowd of about 300 as they listened to the verdict on their cellphones. Then a great roar went up, with many people hugging, some shedding tears.

At the intersection where Floyd was pinned down, a crowd chanted, “One down, three to go!” – a reference to the three other fired Minneapolis officers facing trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

Janay Henry, who lives nearby, said she felt grateful and relieved.

“I feel grounded. I can feel my feet on the concrete,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to the “next case with joy and optimism and strength.”

VIDEO: George Floyd’s family watches verdict in Houston

Jamee Haggard, who brought her biracial 4-year-old daughter to the intersection, said: “There’s some form of justice that’s coming.”

The verdict was read in a courthouse ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire and patrolled by National Guard troops, in a city on edge against another round of unrest – not just because of the Chauvin case but because of the deadly police shooting of a young Black man, Daunte Wright, in a Minneapolis suburb April 11.

The jurors’ identities were kept secret and will not be released until the judge decides it is safe to do so.

It is unusual for police officers to be prosecuted for killing someone on the job. And convictions are extraordinarily rare.

Out of the thousands of deadly police shootings in the U.S. since 2005, fewer than 140 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter, according to data maintained by Phil Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University. Before Tuesday, only seven were convicted of murder.

Juries often give police officers the benefit of the doubt when they claim they had to make split-second, life-or-death decisions. But that was not an argument Chauvin could easily make.

Floyd, 46, died May 25 after being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $ 20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a corner market. He panicked, pleaded that he was claustrophobic and struggled with police when they tried to put him in a squad car. They put him on the ground instead.

VIDEO: Judge explains charges against Chauvin

The centerpiece of the case was the excruciating bystander video of Floyd gasping repeatedly, “I can’t breathe” and onlookers yelling at Chauvin to stop as the officer pressed his knee on or close to Floyd’s neck for what authorities say was 9 1/2 minutes, including several minutes after Floyd’s breathing had stopped and he had no pulse.

Prosecutors played the footage at the earliest opportunity, during opening statements, and told the jury: “Believe your eyes.” From there it was shown over and over, analyzed one frame at a time by witnesses on both sides.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, demonstrations and scattered violence broke out in Minneapolis, around the country and beyond. The furor also led to the removal of Confederate statues and other offensive symbols such as Aunt Jemima.

In the months that followed, numerous states and cities restricted the use of force by police, revamped disciplinary systems or subjected police departments to closer oversight.

The “Blue Wall of Silence” that often protects police accused of wrongdoing crumbled after Floyd’s death. The Minneapolis police chief quickly called it “murder” and fired all four officers, and the city reached a staggering $ 27 million settlement with Floyd’s family as jury selection was underway.

VIDEO: Closing, opening arguments in Chauvin trial

Police-procedure experts and law enforcement veterans inside and outside the Minneapolis department, including the chief, testified for the prosecution that Chauvin used excessive force and went against his training.

Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him, a knee on his neck and his face jammed against the ground.

Chauvin’s attorney called a police use-of-force expert and a forensic pathologist to try to make the case that Chauvin acted reasonably against a struggling suspect and that Floyd died because of a heart condition and his illegal drug use. Floyd had high blood pressure and narrowed arteries, and fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in his system.

Under the law, police have certain leeway to use force and are judged according to whether their actions were “reasonable” under the circumstances.

WATCH: Derek Chauvin invokes 5th amendment, declining option to testify

The defense also tried to make the case that Chauvin and the other officers were hindered in their duties by what they perceived as a growing, hostile crowd.

Chauvin did not testify, and all that the jury or the public ever heard by way of an explanation from him came from a police body-camera video after an ambulance had taken the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd away. Chauvin told a bystander: “We gotta control this guy ’cause he’s a sizable guy … and it looks like he’s probably on something.”

The prosecution’s case also included tearful testimony from onlookers who said the police kept them back when they protested what was happening.

Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier, who shot the crucial video, said Chauvin gave the bystanders a “cold” and “heartless” stare. She and others said they felt a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt from witnessing Floyd’s slow-motion death.

“It’s been nights I stayed up, apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” she testified.

___

Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press video journalist Angie Wang in Atlanta and writers Doug Glass, Stephen Groves, Aaron Morrison, Tim Sullivan and Michael Tarm in Minneapolis; Mohamed Ibrahim in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; and Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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‘We’re not treated as human’: NBA ace says cops see ‘black people as a threat’, hails Chauvin guilty verdict in George Floyd trial

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This post originally appeared on RT Sport News

NBA star Draymond Green has said it was “really great” to see killer cop Derek Chauvin tried for the killing of George Floyd but warned that he sees a long road ahead before widespread social justice is achieved in the US.

Found guilty on all three charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case, Chauvin is facing up to 75 years behind bars when he is sentenced in two months.

Despite justice seemingly being served at the conclusion of the high-profile case, three-time NBA champion Green has warned that there is still plenty of work to be done to see African-Americans treated fairly in society.

“I think it’s great that we finally saw a cop get tried,” Green told TMZ when he was asked if Chauvin’s conviction was positive news for the US.

The challenge to the country now is to make sure [police officers are] being held accountable.”

“I think [the way police treat ethnic minorities] is a totally different story. When you look at the way these officers treat black people, we’re not treated as human.

“We’re treated as a threat by our skin color,” Green added, claiming that the US remains “a long way away” from equality when it comes to law enforcement.

Green’s team, the Golden State Warriors, also released a statement on the verdict, stating that it was “encouraged” by the jury in Minneapolis “moving quickly to impose accountability where it is so often missing”.

The Warriors then echoed Green’s sentiments by calling the judgement “only the beginning” in “an effort to achieve racial justice in America”.

“Today was a step in the right direction but the long journey must continue,” they concluded.

Elsewhere, LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson celebrated the news by saying: “Thank God… guilty. Justice has been served.”

Back on the court, the Warriors shared a viral clip of Green celebrating a three-pointer from Steph Curry before it had even hit the net. 

The Warriors thumped the Philadelphia 76ers 107-96 on Monday, but Curry expressed dissatisfaction with his 49-point display after missing a free throw following a poke in the eye. 
Also on rt.com ‘Justice served’: Boxing legend Mike Tyson celebrates after Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murder over the death of George Floyd

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Reactions pour in after Derek Chauvin guilty verdict in George Floyd's death

MINNEAPOLIS — As the guilty verdict was read during the Derek Chauvin trial in the death of George Floyd, the world reacted on social media and in the streets.The former Minneapolis officer was convicted of murder and manslaughter for pinning Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that touched off worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.

Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades.Hundreds flooded the streets in downtown Minneapolis, with cars blaring horns and people running through traffic, waving banners.

Meanwhile in the courtroom, Chauvin had little reaction as his face was obscured by a COVID-19 mask.

VIDEO: Judge reads guilty verdicts in Derek Chauvin case | Click here for more about the charges

Floyd family members gathered at a Minneapolis conference room could be heard cheering from the next room as each verdict was read.

Before the guilty verdicts were read out, President Joe Biden said he was praying for “the right verdict” in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

Telephoning George Floyd’s family later, he said of himself and Vice President Kamala Harris: “We’re so relieved.”

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus were huddled in a room inside the Capitol as all three verdicts were read in the case against Chauvin.

Clasping hands, huddling, and shushing one another as each verdict is read – the moment was quite heavy and incredibly powerful.

“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin became extremely emotional during an interview on ABC News, saying she is “so relieved that this is what justice finally looks like for my community.”

On social media, an outpouring of reactions from political to entertainment figures shared their thoughts on the guilty verdict.

Barack Obama

LeBron James

Ben Crump (Floyd’s attorney)

Viola Davis

Boris Johnson

Chuck Schumer

Nancy Pelosi

Bernie Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Justin Timberlake

Darnella Frazier (teen who shot video of Floyd’s arrest)

John Cusack

Lucy Lawless

Emmanuel Acho

Alejandro Mayorkas

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