Cheers and tears as jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder

Minneapolis had been braced for this moment.

A sense of anxiety hanging over the city for months.

Its downtown boarded up and militarised in anticipation of this verdict.

Image: There were tears and cheers on the streets of Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin was found guilty

When the moment came the crowd fell silent outside the courthouse and held each other.

The tense air broken with a shout, “guilty!”.

There were cheers, tears, people fell to their knees.

Collective relief from a city that has been carrying the weight of this trial on its shoulders.

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They’d done it – justice for George Floyd.

A ruling that told black citizens they matter. That their own eyes weren’t wrong. This wasn’t policing.

Supporters of George Floyd's family embraced as the verdict was read out
Image:Supporters of George Floyd’s family embraced as the verdict was read out

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Derek Chauvin looked on impassively as the verdict was read out.

What Derek Chauvin did was murder.

There was no one more anxious than George Floyd’s younger brother who’d been representing the family in court.

When I saw him he greeted me with a hug. “We did it,” he said with tears in his eyes.

“I can get some sleep now,” Philonise Floyd told Sky News.

Philonise Floyd (left) raises his hand in celebration with family lawyer Ben Crump
Image:Philonise Floyd (left) raises his hand in celebration with family lawyer Ben Crump
George Floyd at High School
Image:George Floyd, pictured here at High School, was killed while he was arrested last year

“I paced back and forth before I went into the courtroom and I sat in one spot in the corner.

“The same spot by the trash can I always sat at and I prayed. And I prayed for like thirty minutes. And that verdict came back when the jurors came out ‘guilty, guilty and guilty’.

“And I just couldn’t believe it because African American people, we never get justice. We feel like it’s just us.”

But there was no “just us” about this story. This family thrust into the epicentre of a movement that spread around the world.

For Minneapolis this has been painful too. It’s felt personal.

A black mother in the crowds told me she had to come to see this in person.

Her 27-year-old son has been scared to leave home since George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin.

Derek Chauvin
Image:Derek Chauvin was found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter

“When we get home and he hears the police was found guilty, maybe he’ll feel better to come outside,” she tells me.

People who’ve felt persecuted instead of protected by the police spilled into the streets.

Drivers stopping their cars to join the celebrations.

Among the crowds was George Floyd’s girlfriend who came to see the history made by her immense loss.

“I miss Floyd so much you know, it’s hard to think about how I feel,” Courteney Ross told Sky News.

“But I do know that I’m really hopeful for change right now.

I feel like this has just opened up a door for so many people to have their cases reopened, to have people get justice for their lost loved one.”

This verdict is an important step towards healing for this community. Towards racial equality.

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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have welcomed the conviction of ex-cop Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

It’s a verdict of what society will and won’t accept. It’s how change happens.

While there’s still much work to do.

This moment is owned by a family and a community who fought so hard for the justice they were owed.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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