Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges in the death of former Houstonian George Floyd by a jury in Minneapolis on Tuesday, April 20.
Those 12 jurors found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death in last year. The verdict was reached after roughly 10 hours over two days. His jail term could potentially run decades if he receives the maximum sentencing in around eight weeks.
Floyd, 46, died May 25, 2020 after Chauvin, 45, the now-fired white officer, pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 1/2 minutes.
His death sparked nationwide outrage, protests, and demonstrations, including a massive rally in downtown Houston attended by 60,000 citizens and celebrities such as Joel Osteen, Bun B, Trae The Truth and more.
Houston rap legend Bun B, who helped organize the downtown rally, was steadied and relieved as he shared his thoughts with CultureMap.
“Today is a big day,” he said. “While today is not the end-all, be-all in all terms of police brutality, I believe it’s the start of accountability. I’m happy the Floyd family has been given some sense of justice in the loss of George.”
Never one to back down from real talk, Bun B stressed more must be done.
“We still got a lot of work to do,” he added. “Two people were killed by police while this trial went on. The citizens of Minnesota still have issues to deal with — America still has issues to deal with. I will take today to celebrate George Floyd. But tomorrow, we gotta get back to work. One down, thousands to go.”
Floyd’s younger brother, Philonise, told CultureMap news partner ABC13 that despite sleepless nights, he was ready for justice. “African Americans, we never get justice for anything,” he told ABC13. “But I think this one time, I think everybody watching here in the United States, across America, they’re all saying the same thing, like, justice for George means freedom for all.”
Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted a photo of himself watching the verdict as it played out live. His press manager, Mary Benton tweeted that the mayor declared: “We work best, when we work together. This is a time for reflection. Training and treating people with respect. There is a lot of work to do so that we don’t have to relive these moments.”
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted: “As George Floyd’s hometown, the people of Harris County continue to feel his loss deep in our hearts. His family, his neighbors, his classmates, his community, will never forget his death and what it represents.
While the justice system served its purpose today, there’s much more work to be done toward a smarter and fairer criminal justice system. George Floyd’s legacy will be with us every step of the way.”
Adrian Garcia, Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner, applauded the verdict. The longtime local lawman noted: “As someone who has worn a badge and uniform for nearly 30 years, these cases that cause distrust of the diverse women and men who put their lives at risk daily, are always painful.
However, to have a verdict like this, when there’s overwhelming evidence, is critical to prove that we can hold those who violate the public trust accountable for their actions.”
Houston Independent School District released the following statement on the verdict:
Like many across the country, HISD students and staff have been closely following the trial in the death of Jack Yates alum George Floyd. As educators, we have created a place for our students to feel safe, included, and cared for as they navigate their thoughts and feelings around Mr. Floyd’s tragic death.
Our social and emotional learning department, as well as school counselors, will be available to provide ongoing support to students during this emotional time.
But beyond all the formal statements, the one line that may ring the loudest and largest is from the littlest voice, that of Floyd’s young daughter, Gianna:
“Daddy changed the world.”