Editor’s note: This is a live account of reactions to the Derek Chauvin guilty verdicts on Tuesday, April 20, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd, the Black man who died after being pinned under Chauvin’s knee pressed to his neck in a case that set off a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
The verdict was read Tuesday afternoon.
The racially diverse jury — anonymous and sequestered from the outside world — resumed deliberations in Tuesday morning as lawmakers and fellow citizens alike delivered their own opinions about the combustible case that triggered protests, scattered violence and a reckoning over racism in the U.S.
Throughout Tuesday, The Seattle Times will post updates from Minneapolis and across the U.S., as well as reactions in the Seattle area.
As verdict read in court, a teenage girl is killed by police in Ohio
Just as the verdict was being announced in the trial for the killing of George Floyd, police shot and killed a teenage girl Tuesday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.
Officers had responded to an attempted stabbing call when police shot the girl at about 4:45 p.m., the newspaper reported. The 911 caller reported a female was trying to stab them before hanging up, according to the Dispatch.
The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Nobody else was injured, the newspaper reported.
“This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted. “We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We are working to review it as soon as possible.”
Seahawks say verdict is 'one step forward'
The Seattle Seahawks said in a statement on Twitter that the team stands together with the Black community. Head coach Pete Carroll described the moment as a "new beginning."
"We all need to take action and rise up!" he tweeted.
At Seattle city leaders meeting, a mixture of relief and hopefulness
A few hours after the verdict, the city of Seattle held a press conference at City Hall featuring community leaders Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Council President Lorena González.
The tone of the meeting was a mixture of relief and hopefulness.
The Rev. Harriett Walden from Mothers for Police Accountability was nine years old when she first saw, in Jet Magazine, a picture of Emmett Till — a 14-year-old Black child brutally murdered in 1955. The killing of Daunte Wright by a Minnesota police officer last week compounded the collective sorrow that has long existed. Tuesday’s verdict was a long time coming after countless killings where brutality had gone unaccountable.
“Today is a good day for justice in America. It’s a good day for the African American community who carry the collective sorrow in our system, in our body and our bones,” she said.
La Rond Baker, co-chair of the Seattle Community Police Commission, said that today was not a celebration, but “the best outcome that could have come from a horrible situation and centuries of violent policing of Black and brown bodies.”
She believes that the moment is an opportunity to scrutinize police use of force and accountability systems.
“True justice demands that we admit, recognize and work to address the racial systemic inequities that have led to these and many tragedies,” Durkan said. “We know that lasting change comes not just from reimagining the role of police in our communities but from investing in our communities from the ground up. True public safety starts with investments in high-quality child care and early learning, and creating a pathway for all children to good-paying jobs and a future where they can be anything they want when they grow up, not if they grow up.”
Diaz said that officers will be stationed on the streets to ensure that the community is safe tonight and in the following days, he said.
“We will support any level of First Amendment Rights of free speech. If there is acts of violence, we will address those acts of violence, but I ask for peaceful, I ask for calm.”
Floyd’s family members celebrate verdict, vow to fight on for racial justice
For the family of George Floyd, the murder conviction of the former police officer who killed him was a confirmation of something they knew but feared the justice system might never validate: that their loved one’s life mattered.
“Today, we are able to breathe again,” one of Floyd’s younger brothers, Philonise, said during a news conference in Minneapolis after the verdict was released. “Justice for George means freedom for all.”
After Derek Chauvin, who killed Floyd with a prolonged knee to the neck last year, was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Floyd’s family members hugged each other tightly and shed tears of joy.
The sense of relief was palpable as the group gathered in a downtown Minneapolis hotel for a post-verdict news conference that doubled as a kind of spiritual revival with prayers, applause and spontaneous shouts of “Amen!”
“Say his name!” Floyd’s relatives chanted as they entered the room, fists raised in the air. “George Floyd!”
Bellevue police chief says officers were 'offended' by Chauvin's actions
Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson said in a statement that she hoped the death of George Floyd would give motivation to strive for “real, positive change in our society and in our existing and future systems.”
“It is critical that all levels of government are more aware of the tremendously important responsibility we have in protecting the lives and wellbeing of all community members,” she said. “Bellevue stands in solidarity against prejudice, bias, hate and social inequity.”
Following George Floyd’s death, the Bellevue City Council signed a pledge to examine the police department’s use-of-force policies. Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett banned officers from using neck restraints except when deadly force is called for.
Earlier this month, the Office of Independent Review Group issued its final report related to the city’s use-of-force policies, with 47 recommendations. Those recommendations range from technical aspects, such as the number of times a Taser should be deployed, according to the report, to broader concerns about responses to mental-health crises and transparency surrounding use-of-force data.
“As public servants, we were all offended by the criminal actions of Derek Chauvin, and today a jury of his peers held him accountable,” Mylett said in a statement. “While nothing can bring George Floyd back, thankfully justice has been served for him and for his family. The Bellevue Police Department stands in solidarity with the Floyd family.”
House rejects GOP attempt to censure Rep. Maxine Waters over remarks about Chauvin trial
WASHINGTON — House Republicans were defeated in their effort to force a vote that would censure Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., for calling on protesters to “get more active” and “get more confrontational” if a jury were to vote to acquit former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.
The jury on Tuesday convicted him of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Before news of the verdict, House Democratic leaders quickly came to Waters’ defense and denounced the resolution as a cynical political ploy to draw attention away from inflammatory and extremist remarks recently made by Republicans, including former president Donald Trump, and said Waters was calling for peaceful protests, not violence. They held firm in their support with all Democrats voting in favor of “tabling,” practically defeating, a censure resolution introduced by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., 216-210.
In Washington state, police officers have been charged 3 times with killing someone in the line of duty
Police officers in Washington have been charged just three times in the last 40 years with killing someone in the line of duty.
After voters in 2018 approved Initiative 940, which lowered the criminal threshold to prosecute police, King County charged Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson with second-degree murder and first-degree assault for the fatal shooting in 2019 of 26-year-old Jesse Sarey. That case is pending.
Biden after Floyd verdict: ‘We can’t stop here’
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Tuesday the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd “can be a giant step forward” for the nation in the fight against systemic racism.
Biden spoke from the White House hours after the verdict alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, with the pair calling for Congress to act swiftly to address policing reform.
“It’s not enough,” Biden said of the verdict. “We can’t stop here.”
Biden spoke after telephoning Floyd’s family, telling them, “We’re all so relieved.”
State schools chief: Verdict brings 'hope for the future'
Washington’s top education official Chris Reykdal said the verdict “brings hope for the future” but, “what needs to be on trial is the underlying power dynamics and systems of oppression within every aspect of the American experience, which remain largely unchallenged at the system level.”
“Today’s verdict lands as our country is grappling with a racial justice reckoning; a pandemic that has disproportionately affected BIPOC individuals; continued police brutality against BIPOC Americans; and the continued, systemic racism embedded in our institutions, including our K–12 schools,” he said in an emailed statement, referring to Black, indigenous and people of color.
Washington’s education department, he said, plans to examine “every policy, rule, and process, from student discipline to our budget priorities, from early learning to post-secondary access, to ensure that we are challenging systemic racism in K–12 education.”
Seattle Public Schools said on Twitter after the verdict the district will encourage educators to facilitate classroom discussions about the decision — and that "while the justice system did its job today, we know that there is still a long way to go until societal justice is achieved."
Chauvin conviction reverberates with family of Manuel Ellis, who died in Tacoma police custody
The murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin reverberated on Tuesday with the family of Manuel Ellis, whose death more than a year ago in Tacoma police custody remains the subject of an open and high-profile criminal investigation.
“I’m hopeful that the state of Washington will follow the lead of Minnesota," said James Bible, a lawyer representing Ellis’ family in a lawsuit against the city of Tacoma. "These officers watched [Ellis] suffocate and die. As far as I’m concerned, until there is a prosecution in the Ellis case, this is state-sanctioned murder.”
Ellis, 33, died of oxygen deprivation after being restrained on March 3, 2020, by at least five Tacoma police officers and one Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy.
Eyewitness videos and law enforcement records show that officers choked, Tased, and hogtied Ellis before placing a spit-hood over his head. The Pierce County Medical Examiner ruled Ellis’ death a homicide.
Like George Floyd, Chauvin’s victim, Ellis repeatedly pleaded with officers in his final moments, saying he couldn’t breathe while being pinned down.
The verdict in Chauvin’s trial did not instill confidence in Monet Carter-Mixon, Ellis’ sister, that the officers under investigation for her brother’s death will be charged, much less convicted.
“I can’t honestly say that I know there will be the same outcome for my brother that there was for George Floyd,” she said. “There are some parallels, but these are two completely different cases.”
Attorney General Bob Ferguson is considering whether to charge the officers.
“We’re pleased justice was done in the Chauvin trial,” Brionna Aho, Ferguson’s spokesperson said. “Our duty is to base our charging decision on the facts of the Ellis case and Washington state law, not what happens elsewhere.”
Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd's death
MINNEAPOLIS — Crowds nationwide reacted with jubilation Tuesday but also with deep awareness of the progress left to be made after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder in the killing of George Floyd.
Loud cheering erupted from Floyd’s family members watching in an adjacent courthouse room as the judge read the verdict to a city and nation on edge. At the Minneapolis intersection where the Black man died on May 25, a vigil gave way to celebration as crowds began to course down the streets. People hung out of their cars, honked and waved signs as images of Chauvin being handcuffed and taken into custody played on millions of TVs and phones across the United States.
“It means so much to me,” said Venisha Johnson, a Black woman who cried at a gathering in what’s been dubbed George Floyd Square as the verdict was read. “I’ve been praying for George everyday, every morning at 6 a.m. I’m just so happy. The way he was murdered was terrible! But thank you, Jesus.”
But the elation was tinged with wariness and worry that while justice was done for one Black person on this day, it would not be enough by itself. The shooting death of another Black man, Daunte Wright, by police in suburban Minneapolis during the trial and of a 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago last month heightened tensions and muted the court victory.
Father of Washington teen fatally shot by sheriff's detectives react to guilty verdict
Frank Gittens, the father of 17-year-old Des Moines student Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, said he was emotional after the verdict. Dunlap-Gittens was shot to death by King County sheriff’s detectives during an undercover operation in 2017.
“I’m just glad that things went the way they should have gone,” Gittens said.
The Derek Chauvin case brought up a lot of memories for him; he wished that his family could have seem the same justice. “I fight everyday locally so that we can do things better here in Washington,” he said.
Gittens was glad that people of color were chosen to participate in the jury on the Derek Chauvin trial.
“Hopefully it gets to a point where we won’t need to get justice,” Gittens said. “I know that Chance is looking down on us every day.”
City of Seattle to host citywide prayer and moment of silence
The City of Seattle says it will host a citywide prayer and moment of silence at 7 p.m. following the guilty verdict earlier today in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
The moment of silence, in coordination with faith leaders, will allow “residents to have the space to grieve and honor the life of George Floyd,” the City of Seattle said in a news release.
The city’s parks and recreation department is highlighting large parks to allow people to gather while still social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those parks, which will be open and accessible, include Judkins Park, Pratt Park, Powell Barnett Park, Crown Hill Park, Maple Leaf Reservoir, Othello Park, John C. Little Park, Sam Smith Park, Jimi Hendrix Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Jefferson Park, Genesee Park, Hubbard Homestead Park, Green Lake Park, Lincoln Park, and Westcrest Park.
King County Executive Dow Constantine: 'A major step toward a more racially just America'
King County Executive Dow Constantine said we should hope the verdict marks a shift, "a break in a system poisoned by racism."
"Today's verdict can represent a major step toward a more racially just America, one where the state, and the agents of the state, seek to truly serve every person and all communities with dignity, respect, and care, and will speak up — even against their own colleagues — when they are wrong," Constantine said in a prepared statement.
He said the outcome illuminates "the importance of standing up against racism and bias."
"Mr. Floyd's death sparked outrage in our community, across the country, and around the world as bystander video went viral," Constantine said. "We are responsible for becoming the community and society we want to be. We must stand together against racism, hatred, and violence."
‘There is still much work to do,’ Inslee says after Chauvin verdict
OLYMPIA -- Communities “can take heart today that justice was served” after the Chauvin verdict, but that there is more must be done to put an end to systemic racism, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.
"This was more than the death of one person. It was a trauma for George Floyd’s family, his children, the bystanders and indeed the entire nation,” Inslee said in prepared remarks Tuesday afternoon. “Weary families in so many communities, traumatized from images of brutality against Black and Brown people and feeling no power to stop it, can take heart today that justice was served in this instance.”
“Yet, there is still much work to do,” he added. “This is one step on a long journey we are just beginning.”
Inslee urged people to consider the day “the beginning of progress rather than the end of one trial.”
Meanwhile, he touted a slew of bills advancing in the Washington Legislature designed to reshape police tactics and oversight of law enforcement, most of which came after last year’s protests.
Among other things, those bills would ban neck restraints, chokeholds and no-knock warrants, would strengthen the ability to review and decertify officers for misconduct and would create an independent office to investigate use of deadly force by law enforcement.
Lawmakers have just days remaining before Sunday’s scheduled end of the legislative session to pass all those bills and send them to Inslee’s desk.
Guilty verdict is a 'reckoning,' Washington police reform advocate says
Leslie Cushman, an attorney and the citizen sponsor of Washington’s Initiative 940, which brought about sweeping reforms to state police training regimens and the process by which police shootings are investigated in the state, called the guilty verdicts against former Minneapolis police officer Derrick Chauvin a “reckoning.”
Cushman is the head of the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability — made up of the surviving family members of individuals killed by police. The group has supported a series of police accountability bills in the Washington Legislature this year that have found their way to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, including measures banning choke holds and neck-restraints, ending dangerous high-speed pursuits and barring officers from firing into moving vehicles.
The guilty verdicts are “an important moment of accountability, but won’t mean anything until all brown and Black men are truly free from the harms and injuries that come to them from policing,” said Cushman. “This is a somber and sober moment. It isn’t a time for celebration. There is a lot of work left to do.”
King County Council Chair Balducci: Verdict 'is just one action, in one case'
Claudia Balducci, chair of the Metropolitan King County Council, said it was "heartening to see our system can provide accountability."
“While this is a just and important verdict, it is just one action, in one case, that was decided with unusually compelling documentation of an exceptionally horrific act," Balducci said in a prepared statement. "We have so much more to do to realize true justice and equity in our nation. Here in King County, we will continue our work toward transforming policing and providing true public safety."
Councilmember Dave Upthegrove said the video of Floyd's death showed Chauvin spent "Nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds of dispassionately ignoring his duties as a police officer and his compassion as a man."
"This country has a history of oppression — a history of kneeling on the backs of our African-American community — and this must stop," Upthegrove said in a prepared statement. "We must raise each other up — not push each other down."
He said he would continue efforts to demilitarize police, restrict unnecessary use of force, strengthen civilian oversight of the King County Sheriff's Office and try to find savings in police budgets.
'At least it is accountability,' says chair of Washington State Democratic Party
Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party said the verdict was not justice, "but at least it is accountability."
"Justice would be for George Floyd to be alive and among us," Podlodowski wrote on Twitter. "We know that this verdict will not heal the wounds of the past year, and we are holding our Black friends, family, and neighbors in our prayers."
She said she hoped the verdict is a turning point "towards ending the systemic racism so deeply embedded in our society and our criminal justice system."
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan lauds verdict, says anti-racism work will continue
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the guilty verdict "confirmed what we saw with our own eyes."
"George Floyd was murdered and Derek Chauvin violated his most solemn duty to protect lives and uphold the law," Durkan said in a prepared statement. "The cruel and degrading murder of Mr. Floyd shook our nation but for too many Black Americans, his murder reflected an all too often reality of the deep and systemic impacts of racism in our country."
In a city that saw some of the most prolonged protests following Floyd's death, Durkan said "the work to dismantle institutional racism in our country has far to go."
“Our country must acknowledge and work to dismantle the reality of institutional racism and its insidious impacts on all aspects of our society, including policing," she said.
City Council President M. Lorena González, who is running to replace Durkan as mayor, said the verdict was "welcome news, but we know that it will not bring George Floyd back to his family."
“We live in two different Americas, where your access to community safety is often determined by your skin color," González said in a prepared statement. "The status quo of American’s criminal legal system too often fails to deliver meaningful justice to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities."
She urged community members to "peacefully demonstrate" and said "it is my expectation that the Seattle Police Department will refrain from indiscriminate and unnecessary use of force."
Councilmember Tammy Morales, in a prepared statement, said the verdict "does not change the 400 years of systemic racism in our country."
Hearkening back to last summer's often violent clashes between police and protesters, Morales wrote to Durkan and interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz: “I want to remind Mayor Jenny Durkan and Interim Chief Diaz that people are allowed to express righteous anger to bring grievances of injustice in our governmental system. It is our responsibility to allow the residents of Seattle to exercise their first amendment right."
Durkan said, "we will do all we can to protect the cherished right to assemble and express first amendment rights, but we will also make sure we maintain public safety, protect people, and protect the safety of every community."
George Floyd's murder led to changes in policing, SPD says
The Seattle Police Department issued a statement Tuesday in reaction to the murder conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.
Listing changes that SPD has made "toward a more equitable model of public safety," in regards to both protests and use of force, the department said that Floyd's murder led to reforms.
"The Seattle Police Department knows that Mr. Floyd’s murder was a watershed moment for this country," the statement said. "The eyes of the nation saw in horrible detail what so many have been fighting to change. It was soul crushing. From that pain, though, real change (has) begun.
The events of the past year have made clear the community’s expectations of what police work should be."
Chauvin guilty on all counts in murder of George Floyd
Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd, the Black man who died after being pinned to the pavement with a knee on his neck in a case that set off a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
He was remanded into custody following the reading of the verdict.
Seattle City Council reschedules meeting as verdict approaches
The Seattle City Council rescheduled its planned Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, in the minutes before the verdict at the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd was announced.
Councilmember Tammy Morales, the committee chair, announced the move on Twitter.
Ex-cop Derek Chauvin returns to the courthouse to hear verdict at his murder trial in George Floyd’s death
MINNEAPOLIS — Ex-cop Derek Chauvin has returned to the courthouse to hear the verdict at his murder trial in George Floyd’s death.
Biden praying for ‘the right verdict’ in Chauvin trial
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Tuesday he was “praying the verdict is the right verdict” in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. He said he believed the case, which had gone to the jury and put the nation on edge, was “overwhelming.”
Biden told reporters he was only weighing in on the trial into the death of George Floyd, who died with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, because the jury in the case had been sequestered. He said he called Floyd’s family on Monday to offer prayers and “ can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
“They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is,” Biden said a few hours before the verdict was to be announced. “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
Facebook prepares for Chauvin verdict by enforcing its rules
Facebook is stepping up the enforcement of its rules ahead of the verdict in former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in George Floyd’s death.
The social media giant is tightening its content-moderation efforts, saying it wants to “protect peaceful protests and limit content that could lead to civil unrest or violence.”
The steps that Facebook is taking include identifying and removing calls to bring arms to areas in Minneapolis, which it has temporarily deemed to be a high-risk location. It says it is also removing material that “praises, celebrates or mocks George Floyd’s death.”
The company enacted similar measures to prevent the flow of misinformation and calls to violence in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election as the world awaited results. While they worked to reduce misinformation, the measures were not permanent.
Jury reaches verdict at trial over George Floyd’s death
MINNEAPOLIS — The jury reached a verdict Tuesday at the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, the Black man who was pinned to the pavement with a knee on his neck in a case that set off a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
The verdict, arrived at after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days, was to be read late in the afternoon in a city on edge against the possibility of more unrest like that that erupted last spring.
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