Newswire: Chauvin guilty verdict a moment in history as President Biden, others say ‘We can’t stop here” 

Derek Chauvin being handcuffed in court after verdict and George Floyd and Derek Chauvin,  Chauvin guilty verdict a moment in history as President Biden, others say ‘We can’t stop here” 

By Hamil R. Harris

( – The conviction of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of all charges in the murder of George Floyd has sparked an outburst of joy from his family and Civil Rights veterans to the President of the United States, who sees the verdict as the beginning of a new chapter in American history. After a three-week trial, more than 40 witnesses, and 11 hours of jury deliberation, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. President Biden said in a live statement to the nation that the verdict sent a message that justice can be achieved when police officers fail to serve people with respect and dignity. “But it is not enough,” the President said. “We can’t stop here.” Biden continued, “In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen and occur again; to ensure that Black and brown people or anyone — so they don’t fear the interactions with law enforcement, that they don’t have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life in the course of just living their life.  They don’t have to worry about whether their sons or daughters will come home after a grocery store run or just walking down the street or driving their car or playing in the park or just sleeping at home.” But some question whether there would have been a trial had it not been for a 9:29 second video of Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck, shot by a 17-year-old bystander, Darnella Frazier. Frazier captured the May 25, 2020 incident during a trip to a neighborhood store.   “It has been a long journey,” said Philonise Floyd, one of George Floyd’s brothers who spoke during a Minneapolis press conference after the verdict was announced. The press conference was attended by family members, their lawyer Ben Crump and a host of Civil Rights leaders that included Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. In his comments, Philonise Floyd cast the jury’s verdict in the context of generations of African Americans who were killed but never had a day in court. “Emmett Till was the first George Floyd. We ought to always understand that we have to march, we have to protest. I am not just fighting for George, I am fighting for everyone in the world. ‘Today we are able to breathe again.” Less than an hour after Chauvin was convicted by a jury that included 6 whites and 4 blacks, he was handcuffed and walked out of Minneapolis courtroom, people gathered outside the store where Floyd was killed, as well as at intersections where other people died at the hands of police officers across the US. President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris talked to the family by phone after the verdict was rendered and then both addressed the nation from the White House about the significance of this moment in history and how . “Today we feel a sigh of relief, l it can’t take away the pain,” Harris told the country. “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer, and the fact is we still have work to do, we still must reform the system including passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.” In his remarks Biden said George Floyd “was murdered in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see systemic racism…that is a stain on our nation’s soul. The pain and exhaustion that Black Americans experience every day.” Chauvin faces up to 12 and a half years on either second-degree unintentional murder or third-degree murder according to sentencing guidelines. Second-degree manslaughter has a maximum four-year sentence. Aggravating factors could determine a longer sentence of up to 40 years.  Sentencing is expected to occur in a separate hearing at a later date, in part because prosecutors say they intend to seek an enhanced sentence above the guideline range due to aggravating factors. Chauvin waived his right to have a jury make the determination about aggravating factors in his case, so Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill will do so at sentencing. After sentencing is completed, Chauvin and his legal team will have the opportunity to file an appeal in relation to the conviction and sentence. His lawyer indicated on Monday that an appeal is likely to focus in part on what they perceive as improper comments made about the trial by politicians, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Appeals in criminal cases rarely result in convictions or sentences being overturn

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