Verdict: Guilty in Chauvin trial
The Minneapolis jury has returned a verdict of guilty in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was accused of killing George Floyd 46.
Local reactions ranged from relief to rage on Tuesday, April 20, as the verdict after the verdict was announced around 2:05 p.m. local time.
By 2:09 p.m. cars in downtown Portland began honking and people began shouting in the streets.
The jury's findings:
• Unintentional Second Degree Murder: Guilty
• Third-Degree Murder: Guilty
• Second-Degree Manslaughter: Guilty
Marcus Mundy, executive director of the Oregon-based Coalition of Communities of Color, responded quickly to the verdicts. ""Justice is hard to come by in America. The members of the Coalition of Communities of Color know that all too well," he told Pamplin Media Group. "Today's decision in Minnesota matters, truly, but it is not nearly enough, and it is not even true justice because true justice would not have had a man die for a purported counterfeit $20 bill. That is not ingratitude for today's righteous outcome, but a doleful lament about our fear for what is to come. We are heartened that a reprehensible monster has been adjudged by a jury of his peers unfit to walk among us any longer, but we await the inevitable backlash of grievance that will emerge when those in power realize that a single verdict in a single case is not enough to satisfy over 400 years of mistreatment and woe for African American men, and other folks of color, in America."
ommissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, the most vocal police critic on the City Council, said, "Today's verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial has provided a long overdue sense of accountability in policing, but let's be clear: this is not justice. The guilty verdict is obviously the correct decision and it is historic. We all saw what happened to George Floyd on video. It's rare that police officers are brought to trial over these killings and rarer still that the officer is found guilty. But this verdict does not bring George Floyd back. It does not make his family whole again. It does not make the community whole."
Former police chief, and Portland mayor, Tom Potter, reacted quickly. "Having seen the video of George Floyd dying, is just … it was traumatic," Potter told PMG, moments after the verdict was announced. "It's hard to imagine a human being doing that to another human being even after having been a police officer and having seen a lot dead people.
"Just looking at the face of that police officer with his hands in his pocket, his knee on George Floyd's neck, I thought, 'How callous can a human being be?' I was hoping the jury would recognize that, and they did."
Potter said he suspects the outcome of Derek Chauvin's trial will be a "turning point."
"I think it sends a strong signal here in Portland and America that those things will not be tolerated," Potter said. "When a police officer does something like that, it harms all other police officers. It hurts their reputation as well.
"This is a significant change right here in finding a police officer guilty. I'm relieved."
In an interview in Pioneer Courthouse Square, Beaverton resident Lisa Dayson, 50, said she'd been watching the Chauvin trial live since the beginning. "I was glad to see the (jurors) being sane, actually weighing the real evidence and found him guilty," Dayson said. "As a white woman, I don't know how to feel for everybody in society, but I'm glad it came out the right way."
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reece issued an immediate statement: "Today, by a jury of his peers, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. While the verdict will never bring back George Floyd, it provides a measure of closure to his family, friends and the greater community. The systems of accountability worked, holding an individual, who worked within that very system, responsible for their criminal actions," he wrote.
Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement. "George Floyd's life mattered. His death, at the hands of Derek Chauvin, shook our nation to its core. My thoughts are with his family today," she wrote. "Thousands of people last year, including here in Oregon, took to the streets to raise their voices in a clarion call for racial justice and police reform. A call for an America where Black Lives Matter.
"Today's verdict is one step towards that goal. But it is only a single step toward police accountability. It is also a reminder of how much work we have left to do. We will dismantle the structures of racism and inequality in this country just as they were built, brick by brick.
"As a nation, we grieve for the life of George Floyd. And we will honor his memory by continuing to do the hard work to increase police accountability in this country. As we have seen in the last year, that process is not easy and change will not come overnight," Brown wrote.
State Rep. Christine Drazan, leader of the House Republican Caucus, summed it up within minutes of the verdict. "Guilty. Justice served," she tweeted.
A rookie Democratic House member chimed in as well. "The countless hours of protests, gatherings, cheers, yells, & demanding of justice have been heard," Rep. Ricki Ruiz of Gresham tweeted. "Say his name, George Floyd! The work must continue. Your battles are our battles. As a brown Latino I say loudly! #BlackLivesMatter."
"The verdict in the murder of George Floyd is one step in a much larger journey on the long arc toward justice," said Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. "There's so much work left to do to address systemic racism and policing in this country. My thoughts are with George Floyd's family and community."
"George Floyd was a father; a grandfather; a friend to others; a human being," wrote Val Hoyle, Oregon Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. "His life mattered. Today I am thinking about George, his family and all who loved him. Our work must continue to end systemic racism and injustice - in Oregon and across our country."
The Rev. Chuck Currie of Portland responded quickly on Twitter: "A measure of justice for George Floyd and his family has been offered today in the guilty verdicts…. Now that justice must be applied to all people of color. ... let justice roll down like waters, & righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24)."
"Today was an important step in an ongoing struggle for racial justice," U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer wrote.
Reactions poured in from outside Portland, as well. Steve Callaway, mayor of Hillsboro, wrote, "The jury reached the correct verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Our country and our community are still in pain, and our work must continue. The (city of Hillsboro) is committed to working every day to equitably serve and support our community."
"I hope today is the first of many days of justice and truth prevailing across America," said Gresham City Councilor Dina DiNucci. "It never brings me joy to see someone convicted of a murder, that didn't have to happen. But those who are against changing anything about police officers' absolute authority should understand a jury found these abuses cannot be brushed off and excused."
Estacada resident Julie Miller said she thought the verdict was great, adding, "I was pleased with the jury."
Highly anticipated verdicts
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency on Tuesday afternoon and said Oregon State Police are on standby to assist the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office if needed.
The widely seen video of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, sparked Black Lives Matter protests throughout the nation and the world. Portland became an epicenter of the protests.
Many of the primarily peaceful Black Lives Matter protests were followed by much more violent incidents of arson, looting and vandalism, which plagued downtown Portland for months.
In Minneapolis, attorneys for the prosecution and defense presented nearly six hours of closing arguments before the jury of 12 began its deliberations. The jury was out for a little more than 10 hours.
Chauvin faced charges that included second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Second-degree unintentional murder was the most serious of the charges. To find him guilty of that charge, the jurors had to conclude that prosecutors showed, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the police officer caused Floyd's death while kneeling on him for nine minutes and 29 seconds last May.
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