US president Joe Biden has vowed to weed out racism within the police force and says justice for George Floyd is a hugely significant moment for America.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who was filmed kneeling on the black man for over nine minutes during his arrest, has been found guilty of his murder.
After less than a day of deliberation, jurors found the ex-officer guilty of all charges and he will be sentenced in eight weeks’ time.
Chauvin, 45, was led away in handcuffs after a jury convicted him of killing the 46-year-old during the arrest last May.
Biden has addressed the nation and spoke of his determination to rid the country of “systemic racism”.
“It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see,” he said.
“Enough, enough of these senseless killings. The systemic racism is a stain on our nation’s soul. But let’s also be clear: Such a verdict is also much too rare. For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors.”
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“I have spoken to the brave family. We can and we must do more to ensure this type of tragedy doesn’t happen again. Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back. But this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America. This can be a moment of significant change.”
The president says the verdict must be first step to transforming policing in the country. Those who abuse their badge, he stressed, will be rooted out. “No one should be above the law,” he said.
“Today’s verdict sends out that message. But it’s not enough. Systemic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system more broadly.”
Floyd had desperately warned dozens of times he could not breathe as the officer knelt on his neck after he was arrested for allegedly using a fake $20 note at a grocery store.
His death in Minneapolis sparked a wave of Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
Today the city’s tense mood was replaced by scenes of jubilation as crowds spilled out onto the streets to cheer the historic verdict.
Chauvin denied all charges against him, including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
He was found guilty of all charges by the jury who returned the verdict on Tuesday. Chauvin’s eyes flicked intently around the courtroom over his face mask as the verdict was read to him, before he was led away into custody.
Photo Credit: Getty