Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter – in the death of George Floyd.
The jury returned its verdict on Tuesday afternoon after just 10 and a half hours of deliberation.
As the verdict was read out Chauvin looked on with no visible emotion in the Hennepin County courtroom, where jurors spent three weeks listening to testimony about the day Floyd died – under the weight of the 45-year-old officer’s knee – during an arrest on May 25, 2020.
Judge Peter Cahill thanked the jury on behalf of the state of Minnesota for not only jury service but ‘heavy duty jury service’.
The state moved immediately to have Chauvin’s bail revoked pending sentencing, which will happen in eight weeks. Judge Cahill did so and Chauvin was remanded into custody, and taken from the courtroom in handcuffs. On Tuesday night he was transferred to Oak Park Heights, Minnesota’s only maximum security prison.
Chauvin faces a minimum sentence of 12.5 years and maximum of 40 years if he serves terms for each charge concurrently.
If served consecutively, he faces between 29 and 75 years.
Cheers rose from the crowds that had gathered outside the courthouse and down at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, now known as George Floyd Square.
Cup Foods, the store in which Floyd was last seen alive, shuttered its doors ahead of the decision.
President Joe Biden told the nation on Tuesday that the verdict sends the message that no one is ‘above the law’, as he demanded new action to honor Floyd after a killing he called a ‘stain on the nation’s soul.’
‘No one should be above the law. And today’s verdict sends that message. But it’s not enough. It can’t stop here,’ Biden said.
Floyd’s younger brother Philonise, 39, who took a knee at the courthouse steps at the start of the trial, was in court to hear the verdict read. He hugged Attorney General Keith Ellison and trial attorney Jerry Blackwell, whose voice was the first and last heard by the jury as he delivered both the state’s opening statement and their final rebuttal.
The jury sent their notice that a verdict had been reached at 2.30pm local time as Minneapolis and the country braced for potential violence stemming from the decision.
Jurors had not sent back any questions to the judge or asked to review any of the hundreds of exhibits entered in the course of the trial.
Non-essential courthouse staff were told to go home as Minneapolis battened down ahead of the verdict, with 3,000 National Guard members and 1,100 law enforcement officers keeping a watchful eye over the city that’s been on edge for weeks awaiting the conclusion of the trial.
- Jurors had not sent back any questions to the judge or asked to review any of the hundreds of exhibits entered in the course of the trial
- Cheers rose from the crowds that had gathered outside the courthouse and down at the intersection of 38th and Chicago now known as George Floyd Square
- Possible minimum sentence if served consecutively would be 29 years behind bars with a maximum sentence of 75 years
- Possible minimum sentence if served concurrently would be 12.5 years
- Verdict came just hours after President Joe Biden called the evidence against Chauvin ‘overwhelming’
Derek Chauvin is pictured in court on Tuesday as the jury found him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd
Chauvin was led out of the court in handcuffs after the verdict came down on Tuesday afternoon
People celebrate Chauvin’s guilty verdict, at the site where Floyd was killed in May, on Tuesday afternoon
A woman cheers after the verdict was read on Tuesday at the Hennepin County courthouse
People cheer outside the Cup Foods where Floyd died after Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday
Cheers rose from the crowds that had gathered outside the courthouse after the verdict was read
Chauvin, 45, was accused of killing Floyd by pinning his knee on the 46-year-old black man’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as he lay face-down in handcuffs after being detained for using an alleged counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes
‘This is not justice’: Democrats Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez react to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial and seek further steps in racial equality
Members of the so-called progressive ‘squad’ of House Democrats reacted to the Derek Chauvin guilty verdicts on Tuesday by calling for further actions toward racial equality and claiming ‘this is not justice.’
Rep. Cori Bush, a Democrat from Missouri, gave a press conference with fellow members of the Black Caucus following the Chauvin verdict in which she simply called it a ‘step’ to further racial equality.
‘This verdict is a step. It’s a popping of the lock to be able to get to the place where we can open the door and really start to do the work to save lives,’ Bush said.
‘And so, this egregious murder that happened, we can call it murder now, this egregious murder that happened it should not be that it has to look like that in order for us to have some type of semblance of what people call justice.’
Bush continued: ‘This was accountability, but it is not yet justice. Justice for us, it’s saving lives.’
Ayanna Pressley was filmed in a pink blazer crying as she hugged Bush after the two heard the announcement of the verdict.
‘The moment we heard the verdict, we held each other. This feeling is not easy. But all of us will carry each other through this,’ Bush tweeted.
Pressley tweeted: ‘Black men, I love you, and you deserve to grow old.’
Ilhan Omar, whose district covers Minneapolis, said that the verdicts felt ‘different for our community’ and that ‘justice feels new and long overdue.’
‘Rejoice, my beloved community. Grateful to @AGEllison, jurors, and everyone who made this possible. Alhamdulillah! [Praise be to God],’ Omar tweeted.
However, Omar called the verdicts a ‘minuscule step on the path to justice’ and wrote a list of a series of police reforms and other goals she hopes can be met towards racial equality.
Among those goals, Omar called for an ‘independent agency to investigate police misuse of force’ and to ‘criminalize violence against protesters,’ as well as calling on officials to ‘demilitarize police departments’ and ‘disband and deconstruct failed police departments.’
Omar also called for a number of other measures and police reforms including: ending traffic stops for minor equipment violations, federal investigations into departments who utilize practices like arrest quotas, banning all racial profiling, restoring felony voting rights, and end mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another member of the ‘squad’, went onto Instagram Live to address the verdict.
‘This is not justice, and I’ll explain to you why it’s not justice,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.
‘It’s not justice because justice is George Floyd going home tonight to be with his family. Justice is Adam Toledo getting tucked in by his mom tonight.’
The New York congresswoman added: ‘Justice is when you’re pulled over, there not being a gun as part of that interaction because you have a headlight out. Justice is your school system not having or being a part of the schools-to-prison pipeline.’
‘Systemic racism is a stain on our nation’s soul’: Joe Biden says George Floyd’s killing revealed ‘the knee on the neck of justice for black Americans’
President Joe Biden celebrated the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case on Tuesday, but said there was much more to be done to end the ‘systemic racism’ which he called a ‘stain on our nation’s soul’.
Biden said that the guilty verdict on all counts sends the message that no one is ‘above the law’ – as he demanded new action to honor George Floyd.
The president, flanked by his vice president, Kamala Harris, said the verdict ‘can be a giant step forward’ for the nation, but he declared that ‘it’s not enough.’
Speaking from the White House in an address to the nation, he said: ‘We can’t stop here.
‘It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the vice president just referred to.’
Biden has pledged to help combat racism in policing, and says it is important to ensure black and brown people don’t fear interaction with law enforcement.
But he also has long projected himself as an ally of police, who are struggling with criticism about long-used tactics and training methods and difficulties in recruitment.
Judge Cahill is now expected to move immediately to sentencing and a so-called Blakely hearing after the state has filed a motion asking for sentences upwards of the state’s presumptive guidelines.
According to those guidelines, both second and third degree murder charges carry a sentence of 12 years, with a discretionary range between 10 and 15, while second-degree manslaughter carries a sentence of four, with a discretionary range of three to five.
Chauvin waived his right for the matter to be heard by a jury so the judge alone will consider the aggravating factors brought by the state.
The prosecutors’ motion claims that Floyd was particularly vulnerable as he was handcuffed, that he was treated with ‘particular cruelty’, that Chauvin had a position of authority, more than three people were involved and the crime was committed in front of children.
Several minors were among the bystanders that day – the youngest, nine-year-old Judeah, testified in court.
The specter of an appeal already looms with Judge Cahill himself admitting on Monday that Congresswoman Maxine Waters may have handed the defense ‘something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned’.
He was referring to the California Democrat’s words on the eve of closing statements when she called for protesters to ‘get more confrontational’ if the jury did not return a verdict of ‘guilty, guilty, guilty’.
Moment Biden, wife Jill and Kamala Harris call George Floyd’s family after Derek Chauvin was found guilty and say: ‘We are all so relieved… this is our real shot to deal with systematic racism’
President Joe Biden phoned family members and lawyers for George Floyd just minutes after a Minnesota jury returned a guilty verdict for Chauvin, as he again consoled family members and celebrated a verdict that he said would ‘change the world.’
Biden phoned along with Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden. And in a modern twist, lead attorney Benjamin Crump played the call on speaker phone – with the discussion instantly beamed around the world on social media and cable news.
‘Feeling better now,’ Biden told tearful family members and listeners who gathered around Crump’s phone.
‘Nothing is going to make it all better. But at least, God, now there’s some justice,’ Biden said.
President Joe Biden phoned family members and lawyers for George Floyd and lawyer Benjamin Crump on Tuesday following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case
Benjamin Crump tweeted out the exchange. He laughed when Biden said he wanted to provide family members a ride on Air Force One during a future trip to Washington
Biden referenced comments by Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, that her late father was going to change the world. ‘He’s going to start to change it now,’ Biden told the group.
Biden previously revealed he also called the family Monday, with the outcome uncertain – and as the White House noted repeatedly, the jury was sequestered.
He told the family afterward: ‘You’re an incredible family. I wish I were there – just [to] put my arms around you.’
He told them he was with White House advisor, former Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, while making the call, which Biden made from the Oval Office.
‘We’ve been watching every second of this, and the vice president, all of us. We were all so relieved, not just one verdict but all three,’ Biden said.
Crump tweeted out video of the exchange.
‘It’s really important. I’m anxious to see you guys, I really am. We’re going to get a lot more done,’ he promised them.
‘We’re going to stay at it until we get it done,’ Biden said.
That prompted Crump to push Biden to act on and sign the George Floyd policing act, which is stalled in the Senate.
‘You got it pal. That and a lot more,’ Biden promised. He said the outcome ‘provided a fresh shot at dealing with genuine systemic racism.’
Harris, the nation’s first black and first female vice president, also spoke.
‘I’m just so grateful for the entire family,’ she said, saluting ‘your courage, your commitment.’
‘This is a day of justice in America,’ Harris said. She called the family ‘real leaders when we needed you.’
‘History will look back at this moment and know that it was an inflection moment,’ she said. ‘We’re going to make something good come out of this tragedy, okay?’ she said.
Then Biden chimed back in. ‘When we do it, we’re going to put you on Air Force One and get you here,’ he said, prompting laughs.
‘We’re going to hold you to that, President Biden,’ Crump responded.
President Joe Biden said he is praying for George Floyd’s family and called the evidence in the Derek Chauvin trial ‘overwhelming’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden wasn’t weighing in on the verdict but expressing concern about the Floyd family
Earlier Tuesday, Biden said he was praying for the ‘right verdict’ in George Floyd trial and called the evidence ‘overwhelming’ in series of extraordinary comments that came as the jury began its second day of deliberations in the case.
‘I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. Which is – I think it’s overwhelming in my view,’ Biden told reporters in the Oval office.
‘I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.’
The White House later claimed Biden wasn’t advocating for a particular verdict but expressing compassion for the Floyd family.
‘I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at her press briefing.
‘He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family.’
She indicated Biden could have more to say after the verdict is rendered.
‘I expect that he will weigh in more, further, once there is a verdict and I’m not going to provide additional analysis on what he meant,’ Psaki said, declining to clarify if Biden wanted Chauvin found guilty on all charges.
She defended Biden’s comments, saying the president had closely followed the trial, has gotten close to the Floyd family and waited to speak until the jury was sequestered.
George Floyd’s brother Philonise reveals President Biden called him on Monday when the jury was sent out to deliberate in Derek Chauvin’s trial
Philonise went on to say: ‘I just feel that in America, if a black man can’t get justice for this, what can a Black man get justice for?’
George W. Bush also discussed the verdict in an interview with Today on Tuesday morning.
‘I think the first thing is, Hoda, that people know that the trial has been conducted fairly. And that rule of law reigns supreme in our judiciary. We’ll see what a jury of his peers says, you know, I think a lot of people have already made up their mind what the verdict ought to be.
‘All I can tell you is that if the trial is not conducted fairly, there is an appeal process. One of the things that we learned after the storming of the Capitol was our institutions held, and one of the institutions that is really important for the confidence of the American people is a fair judicial system.’
Oak Park Heights maximum security prison has a capacity for 473 male inmates within its walls
Cells inside Oak Park Heights, which experts believe may be where Chauvin serves his sentence
Chauvin was handcuffed and taken away to the cells on Tuesday after Judge Cahill revoked his bail, ahead of sentencing for the murder of George Floyd. He showed no emotion and was taken straight to the cells in Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial was held, for processing before his transfer to Oak Park Heights.
His attorneys will have to notify the trial court within 60 days if they plan to appeal. His lawyers then have months to review transcripts and court filings dating from the start of the case to build their arguments.
They are likely to try and overturn the verdict based on the location – which they argue was too tense to ensure a fair trial – and on the media coverage, plus the $27 million settlement awarded to the family before the trial began. Chauvin’s defense tried to argue that it prejudiced the jury, saying it implied guilt.
Chauvin will be held at Oak Park Heights for the next eight weeks, until sentencing.
The prison, the state’s only maximum-security facility, built in 1982 and with a capacity for 473 male inmates, could be where Chauvin serves his sentence.
It is generally considered well run and comparatively secure, with only one murder within the walls in its almost 40 year history, and no one ever escaping.
He will, however, be closely watched to ensure his safety.
Jim Bruton, warden of the prison for 20 years until his retirement in 2001, said that inmates who killed police officers were at the top of the internal hierarchy. Chauvin would be seen as a prize target.
In addition, he will certainly be considered a suicide risk, and will be closely monitored.
Warning signs should have flashed around Chauvin years before he murdered Floyd.
A Minneapolis police veteran of 19 years, he acted more like a ruthless Wild West sheriff than a modern day lawman.
‘This fight for justice is not over’: Lizzo, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington and more stars react as Derek Chauvin is found guilty
Celebrities flooded social media on Tuesday as they reacted to the news of Chauvin being found guilty on all three charges of murder and manslaughter in death of Floyd.
Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Chris Evans and Mariah Carey were just some of the stars who were first to share their thoughts on Twitter, seconds after the jury in Minneapolis returned its verdict.
Scandal actress Washington, 44, tweeted: ‘A guilty #verdict. But this fight for justice is not over. We have a lot of work to do. There is more fight ahead of us. But RIGHT NOW please take CARE of yourself. And let’s take care of each other. Prayers and love to the family of #GeorgeFloyd.’
The View host Goldberg, 65, told her followers: ‘Guilty Guilty Guilty… No one wins.. George Floyd is still gone.. and finally someone was responsible… Derek Chauvin.’
Goldberg’s Republican co-host Meghan McCain simply tweeted: ‘May justice heal our nation.’
Stars react: Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington and more stars react as Derek Chauvin is found guilty on ALL three charges of murder and manslaughter in death of George Floyd
Thankful: Oprah Winfrey took to Instagram with an older picture of Floyd donning a tuxedo, expressing her relief after the verdict was read
Oprah Winfrey took to Instagram with an older picture of Floyd donning a tuxedo, expressing her relief after the verdict was read.
‘Relieved – and emotional in ways I didn’t expect,’ she said. ‘I cried tears of joy as each verdict was read. I’m grateful to the witnesses and their testimonies. Grateful to every Juror for seeing and acknowledging what the world saw on that tape. Thank you God for real!’
Meanwhile, Oscar-winner Viola Davis lead reactions on Instagram who posted a painting of Floyd with the caption: ‘GUILTY!!!! As it should!! Now….rest in peace George Floyd. Rest. You and your family have been vindicated.’
In an emotional video posted to Instagram, Grammy winner Lizzo spoke directly to her 10.2million followers, while holding back her tears.
She captioned the post: ‘Thank you to all the organizations dedicated to the protest and protection of black people. Twin cities you have been through so much. Nothing to say here but I love you. Rest in power George Floyd.’
Activism: Scandal star Kerry Washington also shared this call to action on her Instagram page as well as reacting on Twitter. Amy Schumer posted the same infographic
Speaking out: Sharon Stone (left) and Megan Thee Stallion (right) shared their reactions
to the verdict on Instagram
Kerry Washington also took to her Instagram page to share a graphic that read ‘We have a verdict. Now what?’ which contained a call to action for her followers, urging them to help pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Mariah Carey also shared the same graphic, adding to her Instagram Stories: ‘Thank you because we need this. Sending love and prayers to the Floyd family. This is a day that will never be forgotten.. Believing something good will come out of this tragedy.. it’s a start. Praise the Lord!’
Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx posted his reaction to the verdict, which he called a ‘bittersweet moment’ in a response on Instagram.
‘I am happy and relieved that the person that did this horrendous thing to you and your family was found guilty,’ Foxx began his post.
‘The bitter is that we cannot bring you back… The bitter is all of the lives that were affected by what happened to you… all the tears that have been shed… and hearts broken…’
He continued: ‘But through prayer and faithful people… Today with the announcement of this Verdict gives us some type of hope… hope that we can start righting the wrongs that have been in place for years in this country… rest in power George… And know that your words resonated around the whole world…’
He once pulled a gun on some teenagers who shot a toy dart out of their car window. He was a bully who belittled a breast feeding new mother.
And, in chilling echoes of what was to come, he held his knee on a black woman suspect as she begged: ‘Don’t kill me.’
Chauvin worked in one of the city’s busiest divisions, the Third Precinct, and on its toughest shift.
His desire to work the 4pm to 2am beat gained him admiration from some colleagues but saw him rack up at least 22 complaints, four times the norm.
He earned two medals of valor, but other officers said just being around him made them feel uncomfortable.
They recalled how he would leave work in uniform with his trousers pulled up higher than most people wore them. His boots were always polished, as if he expected to be inspected by the chief any minute.
He didn’t fit in with the other cops, rarely socializing and not drinking. One former colleague told The New York Times: ‘In a group setting he would never connect and stood there like a small child.’
Chauvin grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of West St Paul. His parents divorced when he was seven and his father asked for a paternity test on his sister: it turned out he was not the father.
He moved in with his accountant dad and attended four different elementary schools in five years.
After working as a US military officer in Germany he joined the Minneapolis Police Force in 2000 aged 24.
On nights off he worked as a security guard at the city’s El Nuevo Rodeo nightclub.
Maya Santamaria, the club’s former owner, said that Chauvin was ‘nice but he would overreact and lash out quickly’, especially on nights popular with black and Latino people.
Also working there, although it seems they did not know each other, was George Floyd.
Chauvin’s bad attitude was on display for those unfortunate enough to have come across him years before.
Zoya Code, who is black, claims that in 2017 Chauvin put his knee on her even though she was handcuffed. A terrified Code said that she pleaded: ‘Don’t kill me.’
She added: ‘He just stayed on my neck.’
Frustrated and upset, she challenged him to press harder, and he did.
‘Just to shut me up,’ she said.
She told Chauvin’s fellow officers: ‘You’re learning from an animal. That man – that’s evilness right there.’
In 2013 he pulled his gun on four teenagers who shot a Nerf gun dart out of their car window.
Kristofer Bergh, then 17, said that after an hour during which the teenager who fired the dart was put in the police car, Chauvin let them all off with the warning: ‘Most of you will be 18 by the end of the year. That means you’ll be old enough for ‘big boy jail’.’
Julian Hernandez claimed that Chauvin used excessive force when he arrested him at the El Nuevo Rodeo club in 2015.
He said: ‘He tried to grab me from my neck, and, of course, I reacted. And then, after that, he choked me out on the ground.’
Chauvin was formally disciplined for pulling a young mother out of her car and ridiculing her when he saw wet patches on her chest from breastfeeding.
According to Melissa Borton, Chauvin, or his colleague, told her: ‘You probably have postpartum depression, and you need help.’
Chauvin was married to Kellie Xiong, 46, a former radiologist and beauty queen who won the Mrs Minnesota title in 2018.
She once described her husband in a local newspaper interview as ‘a softie’.
She said: ‘He’s such a gentleman. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me.’
Her view has now changed. She filed for divorce two days after Chauvin killed Floyd.
Chauvin’s verdict came as a devastating blow to the three other officers charged in connection with Floyd’s death – Thomas Lane, 38; J Alexander Kueng, 27; and Tou Thao, 35 – who are set to face trial on charges for aiding and abetting Chauvin’s crimes in August.
Chauvin was married to Kellie Xiong, 46, a former radiologist and beauty queen who won the Mrs Minnesota title in 2018
NEW YORK: Spike Lee takes a photograph with children after the hearing the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in Brooklyn, New York City
Women embrace after hearing Chauvin’s guilty verdict on three charges for Floyd’s death on Tuesday afternoon
A man rejoices outside Cup Foods after the jury found Chauvin guilty on Tuesday afternoon
People react to the Chauvin verdict outside the Hennepin County courthouse on Tuesday afternoon
People gathered outside Cup Foods cheer after the jury handed down its guilty verdict on Tuesday afternoon
Over 15 days of testimony the jury of seven men and five women – six white, four black and two bi-racial – was guided through every facet over Floyd’s death through the eyes of 45 witnesses and hundreds of pieces of evidence.
In his opening statement, trial attorney Jerry Blackwell told the jury that Chauvin had betrayed the badge he wore on his heart. He said the former officer had violated police policy and trampled the sanctity of human life.
For Blackwell it all boiled down to the nine minutes 29 seconds of Floyd’s subdual restraint and neck compression. ‘You can believe your eyes’ he said, ‘That it’s a homicide, that it’s a murder.’
Not so, according to defense attorney Eric Nelson, for whom the truth could only be viewed through a far wider lens.
For Nelson this was all about reason, doubt and common sense. Common sense would tell the jury that what they had seen with their own eyes was only one part of a much bigger picture.
He said: ‘We have to examine the totality of the evidence. That’s what this case is ultimately about, the evidence. It is nothing more than that.’
As Nelson sought to un-pick emotions from the scenes of Floyd’s death and the testimony of a host of eyewitnesses brought by the state, a heavy fear of what might happen when the verdict came down gripped the city of Minneapolis.
The downtown area was shored up with boards nailed over the windows of businesses and the concrete blockades, steel fences and bails of barbed wire embracing the court and government buildings.
More than 3,000 members of the National Guard were called in to bolster the 1,100 public safety officers already in place – their armored vehicles parked not only at the government buildings but in store parking lots, intersections and sidewalks across the city.
The city was reported to have spent more than $1million on security in a four-stage plan dubbed Operation Safety Net, which kicked off with jury selection and entered its final stage with the verdict announcement.
The screw turned tighter with the April 11 shooting of Daunte Wright – the 20-year-old black man killed in a traffic stop by Brooklyn Center police barely ten miles from where Chauvin stood trial.
Night after night the protests raged and curfews were broken in an unending echo of the civil unrest that followed Floyd’s death last May.
The verdict brings to an end a trial that has been riven with drama and threats of derailment that started before the jury was even empaneled – with the city’s announcement of their $27million civil settlement with the Floyd family – and continued after closing statements’ end.
Nelson made the last of his many bids for a mistrial on the back of statements from Rep Waters.
Judge Cahill called Waters’ comments ‘abhorrent’ but denied Nelson’s mistrial bid and his contention that the jury could no longer be considered ‘untainted’.
Nelson had tried on many occasions to have the trial delayed and moved out of Hennepin County, but Judge Cahill would hear of neither. There was not a county in the state, he said, that had not heard of Chauvin and Floyd and no span of time would be great enough for the case to have been forgotten by any.
The judge also refused Nelson’s repeated bids to have the jury sequestered ahead of deliberations. The defense attorney’s most recent bid came on the heels of the police shooting of Wright.
‘I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved’: Maxine Waters reacts to Chauvin’s guilty verdicts as she avoids House censure over trial comments
Waters said Tuesday she was ‘not celebrating’ following the guilty verdict in the Chauvin case – days after her own call for protesters to get ‘confrontational’ caused an uproar.
She made the comment after the 12-member jury who heard the case pronounced the former police officer guilty on three counts.
‘You know, someone said it better than me, I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved,’ she said.
Her statement came after Waters and Democratic leaders also found relief on the House floor – after a motion to censure the longtime Democratic officeholder failed narrowly in the closely divided House.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy moved Tuesday to formally censure Waters for her comments urging protesters to ‘get more confrontational’ depending on the outcome of the Chauvin trial. He moved quickly to force the issue, after a host of GOP lawmakers condemned the comments.
The House voted to table, or kill, the effort on a party-line 216-210 party line vote.
The result was to temporarily set aside an effort that would have served as a high-profile rebuke by the Congress, although lawmakers could still seek other measures.
The resolution quoted from Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the trial, and who told the defense Waters ‘may have given you something on appeal.’ The House vote came just as the nation was bracing for a verdict in the Chauvin trial for the killing of George Floyd. The nation heard the outcome just minutes after the House vote.
California Rep. Maxine Waters presided over a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday, as Republicans demanded she lose her committee seats or be kicked out of Congress for her call for protesters to ‘stay confrontational.’ The House voted to table a resolution to censure her over the comments
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. moved Tuesday to censure Waters – which drew an immediate tabling motion on the House floor
If censured, Waters would have been be required to appear in the well of the House – a solemn repercussion the House last experienced in the censure of former Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York.
Democrats needed to hold together nearly their entire majority, given their razor-thin margin. In a sign of how little room for error they had, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer were seen outside the doors of the chamber where they could see lawmakers entering.
McCarthy tweeted out the resolution earlier Tuesday, writing: ‘Chairwoman Waters’ actions are beneath the dignity of this institution. They raised the potential for violence, directed lawlessness, and may have interfered with a co-equal branch of government.’
Democrats immediately pointed the finger at McCarthy for failing to take any action against Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia after her own past comments about Q Anon, slavery, George Soros, and Muslims were unearthed. The House ultimately voted to strip Greene of her panel assignments.
McCarthy’s move got a stern rebuke from Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Mich.), the chair of the Democratic caucus. ‘Clean up your mess, Kevin,’ he said in words directed at McCarthy. ‘Sit this one out. You’ve got no credibility,’ he said, pointing to GOP members like Greene with their own issues.
‘Lauren Boebert is a mess. Matt Gaetz is a mess. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a mess,’ Jeffries said, referencing a trio of GOP lawmakers.
Barack and Michelle Obama insist the jury did ‘the right thing’ in finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts and call for the elimination of racial bias
Barack and Michelle Obama have said the jury did ‘the right thing’ in finding Chauvin guilty on all charges but said more needs to be done.
In a joint statement released after the verdict was announced, they said: ‘For almost a year, Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation.’
‘But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?’
Barack and Michelle Obama have said the jury did ‘the right thing’ in finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges but said more needs to be done
In a joint statement released after the verdict was announced, they said: ‘For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation.’
‘In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.’
The pair called for ‘concrete reforms’ in policing and for the elimination of racial bias from the nation’s criminal justice system.
‘Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied,’ he said.
The state’s case: Prosecutors called 38 witnesses – including police officials, medical experts and people who watched Floyd’s fatal arrest in real time – to prove the black man’s death caused by Chauvin’s actions
Chauvin’s highly anticipated trial began on March 29 with an opening statement from trial attorney Blackwell, who vowed to prove that the defendant ‘betrayed the badge’ when he ‘did not get up, did not let up’ for nine minutes and 29 seconds, even after Floyd stopped breathing and despite the fevered pleas from bystanders for him to release Floyd.
Over the next 11 days prosecutors brought in 45 witnesses – beginning with people who watched Floyd’s fatal arrest unfold in real time.
Among them was 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry, who called the officers’ supervisor with concerns about their use of force; off-duty firefighter and EMT Genevieve Hansen, who begged the officers to allow her to provide medical aid; nine-year-old Judeah and her cousin Darnella Frazier, who filmed the most famous viral video of the arrest; and mixed martial arts fighter Don Williams, who testified that Chauvin used a ‘blood choke’ on Floyd.
Christopher Martin, the Cup Foods employee whose concerns about a counterfeit $20 bill Floyd used to buy cigarettes led to his arrest, also testified that he wished he hadn’t said anything because he believes Floyd might still be alive today if he’d kept quiet.
During testimony from these eye-witnesses the jury was shown several graphic videos of Floyd’s confrontation with police. Prosecutors also showed video of Floyd inside the Cup Foods store before police were called, in which he appeared agitated, distracted and potentially under the influence of drugs.
The second week of the trial was dominated by technical testimony, beginning with senior Minneapolis Police Department officials, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, who testified that Chauvin violated department policy when he restrained Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
Police officials testified that while officers might sometimes use a knee across a person’s back or shoulder to gain or maintain control, they’re also taught the specific dangers for a person in Floyd’s position – prone on his stomach, with his hands cuffed behind him – and how such a person must be turned into a side recovery position as soon as possible.
Later in the prosecutors called a string of medical experts to testify that Floyd died due to a lack of oxygen, not from a primary cardiac event. Some of the most powerful testimony came from Dr Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist who told jurors that other factors, not just Chauvin’s knee, made it hard for Floyd to breathe: officers lifting up his handcuffs, the hard pavement, his turned head and a knee on his back.
Tobin pinpointed the moment when he said he could see Floyd take his last breath – and said Chauvin’s knee remained on Floyd’s neck another 3 minutes, two seconds. ‘At the beginning, you can see he’s conscious, you can see slight flickering, and then it disappears,’ Tobin said as he highlighted a still image from police body-camera video. ‘That’s the moment the life goes out of his body.’
However Hennepin Count’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr Andrew Baker, the only man to have actually laid hands on Floyd and examined him at autopsy, did not come to the same conclusions as the state’s other medical witness, including Tobin.
According to Baker, Floyd died of ‘Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.’ He cited Floyd’s arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl toxication and recent methamphetamine use as contributing factors.
Put bluntly, Baker said what happened that day was simply more than Floyd’s already compromised system could take.
As hard as the state worked to stitch together a case that left no room for reasonable doubt, Nelson picked and prodded at the seams and offered up another narrative entirely.
In each cross-examination Nelson pointed at all of the things the prosecution would have the jury disregard; the fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, his enlarged and diseased heart, his high blood pressure and his ‘modus operandi’ of claiming he could not breathe and rapidly ingesting drugs when approached by police.
The state rested its case on April 13, at which point all eyes turned to Nelson.
What’s next? Case heads to pre-sentencing investigation
Chauvin’s sentence will rely heavily on a pre-sentencing investigation during which his character and habits – things not touched on in trial – will be taken into consideration.
Ahead of the trial the prosecution lobbied to have eight of Chauvin’s prior arrests in which they argue he used excessive force admitted in court.
Judge Cahill deemed all but two inadmissible on the grounds that the incidents were not similar enough and that the prosecution were improperly trying to show Chauvin’s propensity to resort to unreasonable force.
At the time he made his decision Cahill said that the state was simply trying ‘to depict Chauvin as a ‘thumper”.
Ultimately the prosecution decided not to make the arrests part of their case-in-chief but they may be used in any bid to see Chauvin handed down a higher sentence then allowed by sentencing guidelines if convicted.
A second ground on which the prosecution could also ask for this applies to ‘crimes committed in front of children’. The state called nine-year-old Judeah as a witness possibly with this in mind.
According to the Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the presumptive sentence for a person such as Chauvin with no criminal history is the same for murder in the third and unintentional murder in the second; 12 and a half years. But the judge has discretion to sentence anywhere between ten years and eight months to 15 years.
If the judge rules that aggravating factors are present and departs from the guidelines, the maximum sentence would be 40 years for second-degree murder, 25 years for third-degree murder and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.
It remains unclear where Chauvin will serve his sentence – and officials may keep the location under wraps due to safety concerns.
Because he was convicted at the state level he will be incarcerated at a state prison.
Prosecutors repeatedly referenced this timeline of Floyd’s fatal arrest during the trial and showed it once again on Monday
Prosecutors showed this graphic to remind how police officials testified that Chauvin’s use of force was unreasonable
Prosecutors called up 45 witnesses – beginning with people who watched Floyd’s fatal arrest unfold in real time. Among them was off-duty firefighter and EMT Genevieve Hansen (left), who begged the officers to allow her to provide medical aid; Charles McMillian (center), who pleaded with Floyd to stop resisting arrest and tried to keep him calm; and Christopher Martin (right), the Cup Foods employee whose concerns about Floyd’s counterfeit $20 bill led to his arrest
The jury was shown these photos of the injuries Floyd sustained as he was pinned to the ground as medical experts testified about how he struggled to lift himself up off the pavement
The defense case: Chauvin’s attorneys called just seven witnesses – including use-of-force expert who said the defendant’s restraint was ‘justified and reasonable’ and medical expert who said highlighted Floyd’s heart problems
At the center of Nelson’s defense was the argument that Floyd’s death was not caused by Chauvin’s actions but by outside factors – namely Floyd’s drug addiction and underlying health conditions, including a bad heart.
Nelson made two other key arguments: that use of force is an unattractive but essential component of policing, and that the hostile crowd that surrounded Chauvin and fellow officers as they restrained Floyd had distracted them from proper procedure and care.
Nelson called just seven witnesses over two days of testimony. He began by showing the jury video from Floyd’s arrest on May 6, 2019, in an effort to portray that he had a history of feigning medical distress and rapidly ingesting pills when confronted by police through testimony by an officer and a paramedic involved in that arrest.
The next two witnesses – Minneapolis Park Police Officer Peter Chang and Floyd’s friend Shawanda Hill – spoke about what they saw on the day of Floyds death as the court was shown new body-camera footage of the chaos.
The sixth witness was Barry Brodd, a former cop and use-of-force expert who testified that Chauvin did not use deadly force against Floyd. In fact, Brodd argued that Chauvin’s placing the handcuffed black man in the prone position and kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds did not constitute use of force at all.
‘It’s a control technique. It doesn’t hurt,’ Brodd said. ‘It’s safe for the officer, safe for the suspect and you’re using minimal effort to keep them on the ground.’
During direct examination by Nelson, Brodd said Chauvin was ‘justified’ and acting ‘with objective reasonableness’ in his interactions with Floyd.
He said that ‘it’s easy to sit and judge in an office’ but altogether more difficult to ‘put yourself in an officer’s shoes’ to really assess what was reasonable in that moment.
Brodd also argued that Chauvin and his fellow officers felt ‘threatened’ by the gathering crowd. He said that under such circumstances an officer can ‘find themselves in a fight for their life in a heartbeat’.
Under cross examination Brodd was shown the all-too-familiar image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck and conceded that such a restraint would cause pain and thus also ‘could be use of force’. However he maintained that Floyd did appear to be resisting arrest through much of the restraint
The final and perhaps most influential witness called was Dr David Fowler, a former chief medical examiner in Maryland who shared his conclusion that Floyd’s death should have never been classified as a homicide because there were too many competing potential causes of death.
Fowler said Floyd died from a ‘sudden cardiac arrhythmia’ due to his underlying heart disease during his restraint by police. That conclusion was refuted by Dr Baker, the Hennepin County chief medical examiner who performed Floyd’s autopsy.
Fowler also said that Floyd had an enlarged heart, which meant he needed more oxygen to function, and that methamphetamine use heightened his risk of cardiac arrhythmia.
He also presented a theory that Floyd may have been exposed to exhaust fumes from the squad car he was pinned next to, potentially causing some degree of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Later in his lengthy and technical testimony, Fowler cited multiple studies which challenged the notion that the prone position – in which Floyd was held for nine minutes and 29 seconds – is inherently dangerous.
He also referenced studies which concluded that it doesn’t matter how much a person weighs if they are applying a single knee to another person – and a double knee restraint makes only a modest difference.
According to those studies a person transfers just 23 per cent of their bodyweight during a double knee restraint. So, Dr Fowler said, Chauvin – who he viewed as applying a single knee restraint for most of the restraint – would have been applying less than 30 to 35 pounds of weight to Floyd.
Fowler asserted that none of that weight compromised Floyd’s ‘vital neck structures’, that there was no evidence of injury to Floyd’s neck and that the pressure applied was less than the amount necessary to bruise him.
Moments before the defense rested Chauvin addressed the court for the first time on the morning of April 15 and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, meaning he would not take the stand.
In a brief rebuttal later that morning the prosecution recalled Dr Tobin to refute Fowler’s claims about the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning, with which Tobin said he disagreed entirely.
Judge Cahill barred Tobin from referring to specific test results with Floyd’s carbon monoxide levels, which the prosecution sought to enter into evidence just minutes earlier. But Tobin told the court Floyd’s hemoglobin was 98 percent saturated with oxygen, leaving up to two percent for carbon monoxide. Pressing that point Tobin told the jury: ‘You and I have somewhere between zero and three.’
Judge Cahill excused the jurors through the weekend, reminding them to pack a bag ahead of sequestration on Monday following closing statements.
One that got away: Floyd’s friend refused to testify for fear of self-incrimination
Chauvin’s defense took a blow on April 14 when Judge Cahill ruled that Morries Lester Hall, Floyd’s friend and alleged drug dealer who was with him on the day he died, would not be forced to testify.
Nelson had hoped Hall’s testimony would help shift blame for Floyd’s death onto himself, for his drug use and other health problems.
On March 31, Hall filed a shock motion stating his intention to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination if called to testify for either side.
The motion came hours before the jury heard testimony from Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, who claimed both she and Floyd were supplied illicit drugs by Hall – who denied that allegation. Under Minnesota law a person who provides drugs to a person who subsequently dies of an overdose is liable for third degree murder charges.
Standing briefly before the judge on April 14, Hall said: ‘I am fearful of criminal charges going forward [because] I have open charges not settled yet.’
Hall’s lawyer, state defender Adrienne Cousins said that for Hall to answer anything would be for him to present himself ‘on a silver platter’ to the state should they pursue any third degree murder investigation.
Judge Peter Cahill ruled that this was a valid invocation of the Fifth Amendment and quashed the subpoena calling Hall to testify.
The defense called two expert witnesses: Dr David Fowler (left), who told the jury that Floyd’s death should have never been classified as a homicide because there were too many competing potential causes of death; and use-of-force expert Barry Brodd (right), who said Chauvin’s use of force was ‘reasonable’ and ‘justified’
Chauvin briefly addressed the court on April 14 and said he will not testify
Closing statements: Prosecution asks jury if Floyd would have died without Chauvin’s restraint while defense insists the officers actions were ‘reasonable’
Closing statements were held on Monday morning, where prosecutors asked the jury to consider one question in coming to a verdict: Would Floyd have died were it not for the cop’s restraint?
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher presented that question as he cast doubt on the myriad of factors the defense presented as contributing causes of Floyd’s death, including his drug use, heart problems and potential exposure to exhaust from the squad car he was pinned next to on May 25.
‘The defendant knew better. He just didn’t do better,’ Schleicher said of Chauvin. ‘George Floyd did not have to die that day, should not have died that day. But, for the fact that the defendant decided not to get up, and not to let up, George Floyd died.’
Schleicher also refuted the defense suggestion that Floyd had ‘superhuman strength’ during his arrest because he was suffering from ‘excited delirium’.
Floyd was ‘a human being,’ the prosecutor said. ‘There is no such thing as super human, that exists in comic books.’
Underlining how hard Floyd fought just to be able to breathe, Schleicher showed the court graphic photos of the injuries he suffered when he was pinned down, which had been previously presented to the jury but were not released publicly until Monday.
In his closing statement, Nelson insisted that Chauvin acted as any reasonable officer would have when he pinned Floyd to the pavement, while underlining the handcuffed black man’s ‘active resistance’ to arrest.
In his closing statement Prosecutor Steve Schleicher (left) asked the jury to consider whether Floyd would have died were it not for Chauvin’s restraint. Closing for the defense, Eric Nelson (right) insisted that Chauvin acted as any reasonable officer would have when he pinned Floyd to the pavement while underlining the handcuffed black man’s ‘active resistance’ to arrest
Nelson urged the jury to examine all of the evidence presented over three weeks of testimony and come to the conclusion that the state did not meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Floyd’s death was a direct result of Chauvin’s actions on May 25, 2020.
‘This was an authorized use of force – as unattractive as that may be,’ Nelson said, noting that none of the state’s use-of-force experts or police officials could agree on a specific point where Chauvin’s actions became unreasonable.
He also emphasized the ‘hostile’ reactions of the crowd that gathered to watch Floyd’s arrest and yelled out for the officers to get off of him – asserting that the chaos was distracting for Chauvin.
Toward the end of his three-hour statement, Nelson ripped into prosecutors for discounting Floyd’s underlying health issues and drug use when arguing that Floyd’s primary cause of death was asphyxia during Chauvin’s restraint.
‘When you take into consideration the presumption of innocence and proof beyond a reason doubt. I would submit to you that it is nonsense to suggest that none of these other factors had any role. That is not reasonable,’ Nelson said.
‘When you conclude your analysis of the evidence, the entirety of the evidence, when you review the law as written, all within a thorough honest analysis, the state has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. And therefore Mr Chauvin should be found not guilty of all counts.’
On rebuttal, trial attorney Blackwell came to a dramatic conclusion: ‘The reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr Chauvin’s heart was too small.’
The jury was then dismissed for deliberation before Nelson called for a mistrial over Blackwell’s characterization of the defense’s case as ‘nonsense’ and a ‘story’ – as well as the possibility that media attention could bias the jury.
Judge Cahill said he was not making any findings as to whether Blackwell’s comments constituted prosecutorial misconduct that could result in a mistrial but said that he had dealt with all of Nelson’s specific objections as he had made them.
As for the media attention, Cahill said he is hopeful that the jurors have heeded his warning against looking at any news coverage of the case before officially denying the mistrial motion.
How the Left repeatedly jeopardized Chauvin’s trial: Biden and Rep Omar said the white cop was guilty before verdict was delivered despite judge warning Dems to STOP talking about case
Seven women and five men: The 12 brave jurors who gave ‘heavy duty service’ to deliver the guilty verdict heard around the world
Judge Peter Cahill described it as ‘heavy duty jury service,’ when he dismissed the 12 jurors tasked with handing down verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial.
Truth be told it would be hard to imagine a weightier burden than that carried by the five men and seven women who ultimately deliberated after the three week trial.
Day by day they entered a courtroom by a guarded, private entrance, surely aware of the security measures and growing crowds as this trial progressed.
Today they left the courthouse for the final time under the armed guard of Hennepin County Sheriff department deputies who have been by their side throughout.
Drawn from a pool of 300 potential jurors their identities have been a closely guarded secret and will no doubt remain so as the nation absorbs their verdict unless or until they choose to speak out after an arduous three weeks.
Though this was the first trial in Minnesota to allow cameras into proceedings the jurors were never once on screen. Thanks to Covid-19 restrictions of plexiglass and distancing not even the attorneys had a view of all 12 and the two alternates who sat through proceedings.
They were seated in the order of their selection and are known only by numbers.
Juror 2 is a white man in his twenties and was the first juror seated. He said he hadn’t even seen the video of Floyd’s death before his selection.
Juror 9 is a bi-racial woman in her twenties who grew up in a small town in Minnesota and admitted to being excited at the prospect of sitting on the jury and who has a relative in law enforcement.
Juror 19 is a white man in his 30s who said he had a ‘somewhat negative view’ of Chauvin and supported BLM in general during his voire dire. He has a ‘friend of a friend’ who works for Minneapolis police but said he had not discussed the case with him.
Juror 27 is a black man in his 30s who works in IT and had seen the video of Floyd’s death. He said that he had commented to his wife on watching it, ‘that could have been me.’
Juror 44 is a white woman in her 50s, and single mother of two sons who is an executive in a non-profit health-care advocacy group. She said that she had discussed White privilege with a black co-worker to whom she is close.
Juror 52 is the second black man selected, in his thirties the youth coach said he had not seen the video of Floyd’s death in full but was ‘at a loss’ as to what Chauvin was thinking. He wondered why others didn’t step in to stop it all.
Juror 55 is a white woman in her 50s, a singe mother of two who rode her motorbike in memory of her late husband with whom she once shared the pastime. She said she had been scared by the unrest that overwhelmed Minneapolis last May and also admitted to having formed a ‘somewhat negative view of Chauvin,’ but said that she had not seen the full video of Floyd’s death.
Juror 79 is a black man in his 40s, an immigrant from West Africa who has lived in the Twin Cities for 20 years. He claimed to be entirely neutral when it came to Chauvin and said that he had, ‘no opinion’ as to the cause of Floyd’s death.
Juror 85 is a biracial woman in her forties who also claimed to have formed no opinion as to how Floyd died. She said that she was ‘working mom and wife,’ and acknowledged that human beings can make mistakes and that includes police officers.
Juror 89 is a cardiac nurse, a white woman in her 50s, who works with ventilated patients. Despite having formed no opinion on how Floyd died said she had seen some of the video and admitted that her training would influence her views on whether Chauvin administered basic first aid training and in her assessment of when it became necessary to do so.
Juror 91 is a black woman and grandmother in her 60s who has a relative who serves as a Minneapolis Police officer but to whom she said she was not close.
Juror 92, the final juror seated, is a white woman in her 40s who admitted to having heard about the city’s $27million civil settlement with the Floyd family but said it would not bias her and that she could remain neutral. She said she had watched the video of Floyds death at least four or five times but when asked what media coverage she was aware of she said only that Chauvin was ‘an aggressive cop with tax problems.’
Defense attorney Eric Nelson repeatedly asked for this jury to be sequestered during the trial and repeatedly his request fell on deaf ears.
In the end the jurors spent just one night in sequestration after they rendered their verdict on the second day of their deliberations.
Speaking after they had done so, Attorney General Keith Ellison added his thanks to that already expressed by Judge Cahill.
He said, ‘We owe our thanks to the jury. They now deserve to return to their lives. If they ask you to respect their privacy we ask you to honor that request.’
The jurors names will be released at a time to be determined by the judg
Nancy Pelosi THANKS George Floyd for ‘sacrificing your life for justice’ in bizarre statement after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts
‘Thank God the jury validated what we saw,’ Pelosi said at a press conference on Capitol Hill, referring to the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
‘Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice, for being there to call out to your mom,’ she said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi bizarrely thanked George Floyd for ‘sacrificing your life for justice’ in remarks after Derek Chauvin was found guilty
‘Because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice,’ she added.
Pelosi said she spoke to the Floyd family Tuesday afternoon.
‘Around three o’clock I spoke to the family, to say to them: thank you. God bless you for your grace and your dignity,’ she said.
She made her comments surrounded by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The lawmakers watched the verdict together in a room off the Capitol.
The speaker and other black lawmakers called for police reform, including the passage of The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
‘This is the first step,’ Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said of the verdict. ‘Today we start to change the world.’
The legislation would prohibit choke holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level, limit them at the state and local level, and restrict the use of qualified immunity, a legal shield for police against civil suits.
Congress has limited power to regulate the police, most of whom fall under state jurisdiction.