MINNEAPOLIS, MN (3TV/CBS 5) -- The jury has voted to convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.
The court announced on Tuesday afternoon that the jury found Chauvin guilty on all three of the following charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin was on trial for charges from the the May 25, 2020 death of Floyd. The Black man was declared dead after Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe. The widely seen video set off street protests in Minneapolis, some violent, that spread across the U.S., including here in Phoenix, and the world.
Chauvin did not take the stand in his own defense. According to police video played in court, Chauvin defended himself to a bystander by saying Floyd was “a sizable guy” and “probably on something.”
The jury was comprised of six men and nine women.
Arizona officials reacted and issued statements following the conviction announcement.
“Today, a person empowered to protect and serve was convicted of murder. Today, a disenfranchised community received justice. Unfortunately, that does not restore a lost life. Although law enforcement represents order, we must better represent equality and justice. The diverse and complex community we serve deserves better. We must demand it of ourselves. We must lead with respect and hold ourselves accountable. Today’s verdict was a small step in the right direction. We must continue to move forward,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said.
“I hope this trial’s conclusion brings some level of healing and solace to George Floyd’s loved ones, as we continue working toward a future in which all Americans have equal protection under the law,” said Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
"From a person who has spent their entire adult life as a law enforcement professional, what happened with Derek Chauvin, there is no training that I have ever seen, no use of force technique that’s legitimate, that you put your knee on someone’s neck, said former Director of Arizona DPS Frank Milstead.
"What somebody should have done, one of those other officers, was stopped it immediately," said former Phoenix PD Assistant Chief Kevin Robinson. "I think a lot of police officers are looking at this and they’re realizing they have a duty to report. They have a duty to do something."
The Black Mothers Forum while there is still much to be done, it acknowledges we've made some progress as a nation. For organizer Brielle Riche, she said she breathed a sigh of relief.
"[The verdict] does not diminish that there still needs to be work done. But it is time to acknowledge the progress that we've made as a nation," Riche said.
After all that's happened, and after all the Black men who have been killed, Riche said it can be easy to say that one man's conviction alone isn't enough. But in the same breath, she also says it's even easier to look on the positive side in that justice was served for Floyd.
"It marks the day where race relations begins to be a point of accountability," Riche said. She added the sentencing phase will really tell us whether or not Black lives matter.
Two athlete brothers playing basketball in Phoenix told Arizona's Family today was a big day not just for America, but the world.
“For the first time, justice is really served,” said Rolando Rhymes. “It wasn’t just an American case, this was worldwide. I think everyone around the world felt a sense of justice.”
“The question is: what’s next?” said William Rhymes, Rolando's brother.