Derek Chauvin, 45-year old former police officer, was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, a Black man in May 2020. The highly awaited jury decision, after more than 10 hours over two days deliberation, came in when the city was on the edge from the recent killing of another Black man, Daunte Wright, by a police officer in the suburb of Brooklyn Center. The verdict has reinforced the fact that the fight for justice and against institutional racism in America continues and that also "Black Lives Matter. (See here: Minneapolis - USA Protests in Images: Demand for Justice for George Floyd)"
After Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict was read, George Floyd's brother Philonise sheds tears. The huge cloud erupted in joy and tears. In front and outside the courthouse, people everywhere were sobbing, embracing, cheering, and relieved. Reverend Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were among the people waiting for the verdict in Minneapolis. Several reactions from top officials and activists converged to express satisfaction and a long road still ahead.
Keith Ellison, Minnesota attorney general, thanked the community but also recognized that major work is still to be done. He said:
“I want to thank the community for giving us that time, and allowing us to do that work. “That long, hard, painstaking work has culminated today. I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration, but it is accountability – which is the first step towards justice. George Floyd mattered. He was loved by his family and his friends. His death shocked the conscience of our community, our country, the whole world . But that isn’t why he mattered. He mattered because he was a human being. This has to end, we need justice. This verdict reminds us that we must make enduring enduring, systemic, societal change.”
After the verdict President Joe Biden, following a call with George Floyd's family, spoke from the White House hours alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, with the pair saying the country’s work is far from finished with the verdict.
President Joe Biden said: "We're all so relieved, not to just get one verdict but all three counts. It's really important I'm anxious to see you guys. I really am. ..No one should be above the law, and today's verdict sends that message. But it's not enough. It can't stop here. In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and must reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this ever can happen again."
He also said thAt the killing if George Floyd was "a murder in the full light of day" that "ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see systemic racism."
The president also mentioned her conversation with Floyd's daughter, Gianna:
"When I met her last year at George's funeral, I told her how brave I thought she was...I told her this afternoon, 'Daddy did change the world.' Let that be his legacy, a legacy of peace, not violence."
" This is a time for this country to come together, to unite as Americans. We can never be any safe harbor for hate in America," President Biden said.
Biden urged the US Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, named in Floyd's honor, to increase police accountability and fight institutional racism.
Former Barack Obama tweeted:"Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more".
Joe Biden warned that "systemic racism is a stain on our nation’s soul"
Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to serve as vice president, reminded that racism is keeping the US from fulfilling its founding promise of “liberty and justice for all.”
She said: “It is not just a Black America problem or a people of color problem. it is a problem for every American. It is holding our nation back from reaching our full potential...A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.”
George Floyd's murder case was so important and has been at the center of civil rights conversations and movements, especially Black Lives Matter. It has galvanized a worldwide activism and opened eyes to the social and racial injustice in America and around the World.
On Friday, August 28, 2020, despite sweltering heat and record temperatures and COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, DC, to demand an overhaul of the country's criminal justice system, end of institutional racism and the push for racial equality. The march, called Commitment March, was held at the Lincoln Memorial, the site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights movement activists marched and called for similar reforms and civil rights. It is at the same site that Martin Luther King Jr delivered the 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech and late John Lewis, then a young man, requested that rights that will lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The verdict today is viewed as a step in the direction of what the activists had requested; it is another step towards raising the awareness that: Black Lives Matter.
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