Unpacking the Chauvin guilty verdict and the federal probe into Minneapolis policing

George Floyd Officer Trial
A crowd gathers next to the spot where George Floyd was murdered at George Floyd Square after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd.
Julio Cortez | AP Photo file

Updated: 4:25 p.m.

All eyes were on Minnesota as the jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in a Minneapolis courtroom. A day later, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a Justice Department investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.

How did Minnesotans and people around the world react to Chauvin’s murder conviction in the killing of George Floyd? How has policing failed communities of color? What do the conviction and the federal probe mean for the broader movement for police reform and accountability?

MPR News host Angela Davis talked with two journalists and a legal expert about how we reached this point and what comes next.

“People were surprised and shocked that even this small modicum of accountability could occur in our nation. And I think that’s a poor statement on our country,” University of Colorado Law School professor Aya Gruber told Davis.

Star Tribune columnist and ESPN reporter and host Myron Medcalf was among those who felt shock at the guilty verdicts, given the outcomes of other police brutality cases over the years: “We’ve watched this so many times, and there wasn’t justice, so we’re conditioned to believe that the Derek Chauvins of the world get to walk away and go home.”

What might have been different in the Chauvin trial? Former Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario said that this time, with the bystander footage of Floyd’s killing, the jurors “saw what we all saw, and they put a label to that. As the prosecutor said: This was not policing. This was murder.”

Guests:

  • Ruben Rosario is a Twin Cities journalist who worked for the Pioneer Press for nearly 30 years, most notably as a columnist but also as a reporter and editor. Prior to that, he was a reporter for the New York Daily News where he covered crime and courts.

  • Myron Medcalf is a columnist for the Star Tribune, where he writes columns for the Sunday newspaper and where he previously worked as a news and sports reporter. Myron also works for ESPN as a senior college basketball reporter and nationally syndicated radio host.

  • Aya Gruber is a professor at the University of Colorado Law School who has been writing about the Chauvin case.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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