Relieved celebrations broke out as police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday in the death of George Floyd last year.
The verdicts are the result of the massive Black Lives Matter movement that swept the United States and the world after Floyd’s killing.
The Floyd family’s lawyers said the decision meant that “painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis”.
George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, who testified in the trial, emphasised that the push for justice should not end with this verdict.
“I know that he gave his life so that other people’s cases can get reopened,” she said outside the building in Minneapolis where Chauvin was convicted.
Nobody should think this verdict means the justice system works.
If tens of millions of people had not taken to the streets and defied the cops then Floyd’s case would have been just another scandal covered up by a corrupt system.
Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd for more than nine minutes, is just the second police officer in Minnesota to ever be convicted of murder for an on-duty incident in the state.
He faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder but it is possible he will receive as little as 12 years when he is sentenced in eight weeks’ time.
Protesters gathered in front of the Hennepin County Government Center where the trial was held. They chanted, “Chauvin, guilty," before the verdict came in.
After the verdict was heard the crowd began to chant, “One down three to go," in reference to trials of other police officers accused of being complicit in Floyd’s murder.
There were also chants of, “whose victory—our victory.”
A protester told the crowd, “Don’t let anyone tell you protest doesn’t work.”
The verdict was heard as demonstrations have spread in recent weeks across the US. Protests have continued for more than a week in Brooklyn Center—only ten miles away from Minneapolis—after the police murder of Daunte Wright.
In other US cities activists have stayed on the streets in protest of the killing of Floyd, Wright and Adam Toledo—a 13 year old who was shot by the police last month.
Killer cops are rarely charged with murder. Chauvin being charged with murder shows that the ruling class is terrified of the ferocity of the Black Lives Matter movement and how it questioned the present set up.
But now the people at the top will try to say that Chauvin was an exception to generally good policing. That doesn’t fit the facts—US police still kill three people per day.
The cops are trained to hold working class people in utter contempt and with that comes both sexism and racism.
Protesters must stay on the streets to demand true justice for Floyd and every other victim of a racist police force and to end a racist system that protects the ruling class.