Derek Chauvin

Derek Chauvin was led away in handcuffs Tuesday after a Minneapolis jury found him guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd, who suffocated under Chauvin’s knee last May. 

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted on all three counts brought against him: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The jury deliberated for about 10 hours over two days before returning their verdict following the three-week trial.

Chauvin will return to court for sentencing in eight weeks, the judge said. He faces up to 40 years in prison. 

In Durham, Mayor Steve Schewel and other city leaders weighed in on the verdict shortly after it was handed down. 

“Justice was served,” Schewel told the INDY. “Everyone in America saw the cold-blooded murder, and I’m just glad the jury saw it the same way.”

City Council member Mark-Anthony Middleton was driving to a press conference in the downtown district when he heard the verdict on his car radio.

“I just started weeping,” Middleton said, “and then I started weeping because I was weeping. Why in the hell am I weeping about something that was clear as day? We all watched it. We all watched that man get lynched, but for Black and Brown men that’s not enough. It’s just so exhausting.”

Alexandra Valladares, the first Latinx woman to serve on Durham’s school board, said the verdict was “bittersweet because it comes with all of this collective trauma.”

“Why should folks be sacrificed before people realize, ‘Oh my God, racism is still alive.’ It shouldn’t not take all of that.”

Former Durham Mayor William “Bill” Bell said he was pleased by the verdict.

“It gives me a little more faith in the jury system when it’s picked correctly,” said Bell, who added that he’s now focused on the sentencing phase of the trial.

Antonio Jones, chair of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, was standing in the living room floor of his home in eastern Durham County, zoned in on his television screen awaiting the verdict.

Jones said the millions of Americans who saw Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck as he lay begging for his life were forced to grapple with their thoughts about humanity.

“While the trial played out there were moments of pause and reflection,” he said, while referring to the nation’s collective memory of historic verdicts in the past involving Rodney King, O.J. Simpson, and George Zimmerman.

“The question now is whether [Chauvin] will spend the rest of his life in prison?’ Jones said. 

Daphne “Noni” Davis, founder of St. Sya Academy, an African-centered private school in South Durham, thinks the verdict may fuel momentum for passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act now before Congress.

The bill seeks greater accountability for police misconduct and enhanced transparency over law enforcement along with police training reforms.

“Politically, the world was watching,” Davis said.

Here are some other reactions:

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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