The family of George Floyd celebrated the three guilty verdicts for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, calling the outcome an answer to prayer and a pivotal moment for racial justice in America.
“We the jury in the above-entitled matter as to count 1, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty,” Judge Peter Cahill announced in court Tuesday.
“My family is a family that will not back down from prayer,” said George Floyd’s brother Terence Floyd. “I believe because of prayer we got the verdict we wanted. We got on our knees – some of us stood up but we asked the right person – we asked the right one. We said, ‘God we need justice. We need it now,’ and he answered.”
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Cheers erupted outside the Minneapolis courthouse after news of the verdict.
The prosecution based its case on the video of the white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes. Floyd, a black man, was killed at the hands of Chauvin on May 25 of last year. The case sparked demonstrations across the globe and calls across the country to defund the police.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris responded to the verdict after speaking with Floyd’s family.
“No one should be above the law,” Biden said. “And today’s verdict sends that message. But it’s not enough. We can’t stop here. In order to live a real change in reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedy like this will ever happen to occur again.”
Harris said, “Today we feel a sigh of relief still it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice. We still have work to do. We must reform the system.”
More than 30 witnesses, including the police chief and others from law enforcement, testified for the prosecution in the three-week trial. The defense hoped to create a reasonable doubt that Chauvin’s actions did not cause Floyd’s death.
The jury of four black, six white, and two mixed-race Americans deliberated for just ten and half hours.
Democratic lawmakers expressed satisfaction with the guilty verdict.
“This verdict we certainly agree with – guilty on all charges,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH). “But we want our message to be very clear that this is just the first step.”
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) said, “For a moment we have a little bit of relief. For a moment we can exhale.”
On social media, evangelist Franklin Graham posted that it’s a moment to foster change.
“Our legal system has worked & justice is being served,” said Graham. “I hope all of America & our law enforcement will learn from this, & that we’ll become a better nation.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes, while gratified by the verdict, he pointed out that black people are disproportionately victims of police brutality.
“My prayer is that this will ignite a safer society where justice is equally allocated to absolutely everyone irrespective of socio-economics, race, religion or gender,” the Dallas pastor explained in a Facebook post. “Thank you to the many officers who do not stoop to such atrocities and honestly work toward protecting us every day.”
Atlanta Pastor Garland Hunt called on the church to bring a prophetic voice to address America’s spiritual and racial crisis.
“What’s a Christian response in this, and one is prayer,” Hunt told CBN News. “Number two, the church must demonstrate racial unity, racial oneness, racial healing. The church leads the way the country will follow.”
Meanwhile, Derek Chauvin is expected to be sentenced in about eight weeks. The most serious charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years behind bars.