Derek Chauvin convicted in murder of George Floyd

A mural of George Floyd in Houston. Derek Chauvin was convicted in Floyd's murder on Tuesday, April 20. (Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay)

Former Minneapolis Police Department office Derek Chauvin was convicted of all three counts in the murder of George Floyd last summer.

NPR reported that Chauvin had been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Sentencing is in eight weeks.

Floyd’s murder last summer led to weeks of protests not only across the U.S., in cities large and small, but also around the world. And while activists and politicians welcomed the verdict, all said that the trial was a single step for justice in the country.

“While nothing can bring George Floyd back to his family, this is a step towards justice,” Black Lives Matter BloNo said in a Facebook post after the verdict.

“Last summer, our hearts were broken and the Black Lives Matter movement swelled as the streets filled with calls for accountability and justice,” a statement from the Springfield chapter of BLM said. “These cries for justice for the murder of George Floyd rang out across Springfield and throughout the country. Today, a jury reached a decision to find former officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts for the murder of George Floyd.”

The organization said it was an important step in beginning to heal and that they would continue to work for change.

The Uniting Pride Center in Champaign said the verdict was a small step and that there was still work to do.

“This verdict is symbolic of the steps we have taken, and the progress we have made” the LGBTQ center said in a Facebook post. “Don’t let it be a stopping point, but a starting point. Start advocating for black and brown communities, youth of color, and QTPOC, start pointing out discrimination when you see it, start calling hate and racism what it is, and start being the accomplice and ally your community needs you to be.”

“My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, who deserve to have him alive today,” said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. “I’m also thinking of all our Black communities and other communities of color who see their children or their parents or themselves in George Floyd, and Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo, and Breonna Taylor, and Laquan McDonald.” Like BLM Springfield, Pritzker said the verdict was a milestone but more was needed.

“Today’s verdict is a step toward justice for the family of George Floyd and a critical moment in our nation’s quest for the just treatment of Black people,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Matteson), whose district covers the southern suburbs of Chicago. “I hope that this decision will bring his family a sense of peace and serve as a signal to our country and the world that we will not stand for police brutality.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) said the trial wasn’t a question of guilt but a test of the justice system that still fails Black and brown people.

“While I hope that today’s verdict paves the way for increased accountability for police brutality, it is also my hope that it doesn’t dissuade us from reckoning with the reality facing Black and Brown Americans or the long way we have left to go,” Casten said. “Massive disparities in policing and incarceration, health care, housing, access to clean air and drinking water, and voting rights continue today and every day.”

“Today’s verdict — guilty on all three counts — is an important first acknowledgment of illegal police conduct,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago). “It holds one unlawful policeman accountable for murder.  However, police accountability is not synonymous with justice.”

Rush called for police to be professional, highly trained people held to high standards of public safety and protection.