World reacts as officer in George Floyd case found guilty of murder

The jury came to their decision after almost nine hours of deliberations

Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty for the murder of George Floyd.

Chauvin was today (April 20) found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury after they deliberated the case for almost nine hours.

The 12-strong-jury began their deliberations on Monday afternoon (April 19) following three weeks of testimonies from 45 witnesses. They unanimously convicted Chauvin of all charges against him after concluding that he killed the 46-year-old through a criminal assault.

Chauvin was sacked following Floyd’s death last year on May 25 and was later charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on May 29. Three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Keung Tuesday were also charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Distressing footage emerged soon after Floyd’s altercation with police which showed him being restrained on the ground by Chauvin, who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Despite Floyd’s continued pleas that he couldn’t breathe, Chauvin continued to apply pressure to Floyd’s neck. A lack of oxygen caused brain damage, heart failure and eventually death.

On October 7, Chauvin was released from Oak Heights Prison in Minneapolis after posting $1million (£770,000) bail. He now faces up to 40 years in prison.

Protests against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis (Picture: Getty)

The murder of Floyd sparked outrage last year with protesters around the world taking to the streets following news of the incident.

Following Floyd’s death, the city of Minneapolis pledged to disband its police department after a majority of city council members backed the move.

Nine of the Minneapolis City Council’s 12 members voted for the huge change and vowed to introduce constructive alternatives after Floyd died in police custody.

Lisa Bender, the Minneapolis council president, said at the time: “It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe.

“Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”

Speaking outside of the court ahead of the verdict being delivered, Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross said of Floyd: “I love him…He was a man with a big heart. He was funny, and silly and prayerful. He was out of this world.”

Ross added: “Floyd was a big man, he was too big for this Earth. He is over all of us right now.”

She predicted: “I know the verdict is coming back guilty.”

US President Joe Biden later spoke about the verdict: “Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd,” Biden said. “The verdict is a step forward. And while nothing can ever bring George Floyd back, this can be a giant step forward on the march towards justice in America.”

He added: “‘I can’t breathe.’ These were George Floyd’s last words. We cannot let them die with him. We have to keep hearing them. We must not turn away. We cannot turn away.”

Biden also pledged to fight for the passing of the ‘George Floyd Justice in Policing Act’, something he said he would “sign into law right away” once passed.

Tweeting shortly after the result of the trial emerged, Public Enemy tweeted “GUILTY on ALL counts,” whilst Black Lives Matter UK said: “Our thoughts and hearts continue to be with George Floyd’s family.”

Hilary Clinton tweeted: “George Floyd’s family and community deserved for his killer to be held accountable. Today, they got that accountability. Always and forever, Black lives matter.”

You can see some of the early reactions to the verdict below:

David Lammy added: “No judgement can ever make up for murder, but it means everything that justice has been served tonight for George Floyd.

“Let this send a clear message both in the USA and across the world #BlackLivesMatter.”

Whilst Amanda Gorman tweeted: “A reminder that victory would be George Floyd being alive.

“Every day Black Americans worry if they will be next is another day without justice.”

This is a breaking new story – more to follow

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