Derek Chauvin guilty in death of George Floyd

By Mike Hayes, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 12:06 AM ET, Wed April 21, 2021
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7:26 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Floyd's nephew calls verdict a "pivotal moment for America"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz


George Floyd's nephew called the guilty verdict a "pivotal moment for America."

Speaking in Minneapolis following the announcement of the jury's decision, Brandon Williams declared the trial's verdict long overdue, and in the process outwardly hoped for systemic change.

"It's something this country has needed for a long time now. Hopefully today is the start of that," said Williams, a man whom attorney Ben Crump said was "like a son" to Floyd.

"We need change in this broken system. It was built to oppress us. It was built against us," Williams said of American policing. "Oftentimes we see people who are supposed to protect and serve... they do the total opposite."

Williams called himself optimistic ahead of the verdict, noting that historically even strong evidence doesn't always guarantee a just result.

"All of the evidence, all of the witnesses, everything proved exactly what we saw in that video," he said, adding that, "oftentimes this system fails us as Black men and women in America."

Williams admitted that returning each day during the trial was emotionally challenging, as "this is the exact place where they took somebody from me that I love."

However, he said, coming back on Wednesday offered some degree of closure and relief.

"This time it was easy. We came for one thing and one thing only. That was justice for George Floyd. And today that's what we got," Williams said.

Watch the moment:

7:25 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Former President Bill Clinton: "The jury made the right decision"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former President Bill Clinton said he believes the jury "made the right decision" in convicting former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on all charges today.

"The jury made the right decision in convicting Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd," Clinton said in a statement today.  "His tragic death, and the evidence at the trial, made painfully clear that we must do much better in recruiting, training, and holding law enforcement accountable to the communities they serve. The failure to do so continues to plague America, as we have seen in recent days."

“The color of a person’s skin still determines far too often how they will be treated in nearly every aspect of American life. While the verdict won’t bring George Floyd back, it can help us prevent more senseless deaths and hasten the day when we are all treated equally in matters of life, liberty, dignity, respect, and opportunity," Clinton said.
7:07 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Breonna Taylor's mother responds to Derek Chauvin verdict: "Thank you God"

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Chenelle Terry

Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on Tuesday afternoon reacted to the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial, saying, “Thank you God.”

Palmer also tweeted saying, “Today justice has been served but we are not [done] fighting for justice for all the victims and families for[sic] haven’t received theirs.”

“This isn’t over,” she added.

Palmer ended her tweet with hashtags of the names of her daughter, Ahmaud Arbery, Adam Toledo, Jacob Blake, Daunte Wright, and Sean Monterrosa.

7:13 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

How do you feel about Chauvin's guilty verdict?

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer who kneeled on George Floyd's neck for over 9 minutes last year, has just been found guilty of all three charges against him – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours in one of the most consequential trials of the Black Lives Matter era. We want to know your reaction to the verdict and what you think needs to happen next. Leave your comments in the box below and we may feature some in our upcoming reporting.

7:05 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

George Floyd's brother pledges to continue the fight for justice 

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, choked back tears as he responded to the guilty verdict, saying his work fighting for justice had only just begun. 

"Rev. Al [Sharpton] always told me, 'we got to keep fighting," said Floyd. "I'm going to put up a fight every day, because I'm not just fighting for George anymore. I'm fighting for everybody around this world."

Philonise Floyd said he had received worldwide support for the cause with one unified message. 

"They're all saying the same thing, 'we won't be able to breathe until you're able to breathe,'" he said. "'Today, we are able to breathe again.'"

"We are here and we are not going anywhere," he continued, before thanking protesters and attorneys. "Justice for George means freedom for all," he concluded.

Watch the moment here:

7:00 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Prosecutors and Minnesota attorney general thank Floyd family after the verdict

From CNN’s Keith Allen

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team of prosecutors thanked the Floyd family after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd on Tuesday afternoon.

“Over the last year, the family of George Floyd had to relive again and again, the worst day of their lives, when they lost their brother, their father, their friend,” Ellison said. “I'm profoundly grateful to them for giving us the time we needed to prosecute this case. They have shown the world what grace and class and courage really look like."

“Although a verdict alone cannot end their pain, I hope it's another step on the long path toward healing for them,” the attorney general continued.

“I'm honored to have stood with the Floyd family, to have stood with the state of Minnesota as we as we go through this painful process together, and it's been my privilege to practice with this incredible, incredible gifted trial team,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said.

Fellow prosecutor Jerry Blackwell also echoed the words of the civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis in his remarks to the media following Tuesday’s verdict.

"I want to first say thank you to all of the selfless servants that you see standing here and the many more that you do not see, who had the willingness, the courage, the passion, the intestinal fortitude to get into good trouble,” Blackwell said. 

“No verdict can bring George Perry Floyd back to us, but this verdict does give a message to his family that he was somebody, that his life mattered, that all of our lives matter, and that's important,” Blackwell continued. “And I also hope that this verdict for all of the rest of the collective, all of us, will help us further along the road toward a better humanity,” Blackwell added.
6:49 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Floyd family attorney on verdict: "This is a victory for those who champion humanity over inhumanity"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz


After a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges for the murder of George Floyd, attorney Ben Crump took a moment to reflect upon the significance of the decision.

"We're going to try to leave here today knowing that America is a better country," said Crump, the Floyd family attorney. "America, let's pause for a moment to proclaim this historical moment not just for the legacy of George Floyd, but for the legacy of America."

Speaking from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Crump encouraged the nation to reflect upon the decision in a greater context.

"America, let's frame this moment as a moment where we finally are getting close to living up to our Declaration of Independence," said Crump, before channeling the nation's famous document and offering a modern-day application.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equally, that they're endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that amongst them are life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Crump said, before adding, "America, that means all of us. That means Black people. That means Hispanic people. That means Native people. That means Asian people. That means all of us, America."

With the United States still reeling from a pattern of incidents pitting police officers against underserved communities, Crump offered a larger perspective, suggesting that the Chauvin verdict can become a step towards a more just nation.

"We frame this moment for all of us, not just for George Floyd. This is a victory for those who champion humanity over inhumanity, those who champion justice over injustice, those who champion morals over immorality. America, let's lean into this moment," he said.

Watch the moment here:

7:18 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Terrence Floyd: "I'm just grateful"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Terrence Floyd, one of George Floyd's brother, said he's grateful for the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, "we got the verdict we wanted."

"My family is a family that will not back down from prayer. And I believe because of prayer, we got the verdict we wanted. We got on our knees. Some of us stood up, but we asked the right person, we asked the right one. We said, 'God, we need justice, we need it now.' And he answered. I'm just grateful," Terrence Floyd said.

He continued, "I'm grateful that my grandmother, my mother, my aunts, they got to see this history made. I'm even grateful — my brother's, he's not here, and I'm grateful and I'm proud of him. I will salute him at every — every day of my life, I will salute him because he showed me how to be strong. He showed me how to be respectful. He showed me how to speak my mind. I'm going to miss him, but now I know he's in history. What a day to be a Floyd, man."

Watch the moment here:

6:45 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Floyd family attorney calls for more change: "Let this be a changing point in America"


L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for the George Floyd family, said "justice finally came," but there is still change that needs to happen.

He said they felt "pure joy and pure shock, because days like this don't happen," after hearing news of the guilty verdict.

"The whole world should not have to rally to get justice for one man, but that's what happened," Stewart said.

"This wasn't one family's case. This was the entire world's case and justice finally came. But it shouldn't have to be so hard to attain this level of justice in cases like this when we can see with our own eyes the only difference is the color of his skin. That's the change we all want. That's outrageous," he added.

Stewart said when they heard the verdict, they all teared up, but "don't confuse these tears thinking that they are sorrow."

He said tears of sorrow are of those "are the tears of the victims that we've seen time and time again be shot in the back, choked over loose cigarettes or killed for no reason, and justice never comes. Those are the tears that someone will weep tomorrow when they are taken advantage of in an interaction with law enforcement."

"Let this be a changing point in America for policing in a positive way and let's unify," Stewart added.

Watch the moment here: