Updated: April 21, 4:30 a.m. | Posted: April 20, 5:02 p.m.
Crowds erupted in celebration after a Hennepin County jury on Tuesday found ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.
In one of the most consequential verdicts in Minnesota history, Chauvin was found guilty on all counts, including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing last May. Chauvin is the second police officer in Minnesota to be convicted of killing a civilian while on duty — and the first officer in the state to be held criminally liable in the killing of a Black person.
In downtown Minneapolis, hundreds flooded the plaza in front of the Hennepin County Government Center. A hush fell through the crowd — for only a few moments — as the three verdicts were read: Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Then cheers broke out. People hugged and wept, drivers blared their horns and demonstrators waved signs.
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"It feels like a Super Bowl out here,” said Jeff Compton, of Louisville, Ky., who had come from protests over the death of Breonna Taylor to hear the verdict in Minneapolis. “It's just so many good feelings."
It was a similar sight at George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis, where Floyd died and where activists have continued to protest. People danced and celebrated at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue well into the night, and listened to speeches from community leaders and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Some were more muted in their celebrations, saying there is still work ahead.
"One of my first thoughts was justice for Daunte Wright,” said Tim Harris, who lives in the North Loop.
Wright is the 20 year-old Black motorist who was shot and killed by a white Brooklyn Center police officer earlier this month. The former police chief there said Kim Potter had intended to stun the man with her Taser instead of firing her gun. Both have since resigned, and Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
"I think this is a win. If you want to call it a win. I'm happy that justice won,” he said. “But we have a lot of work to do still."
Correction (April 20, 2021): Courteney Ross’ name was misspelled in a photo caption in an earlier version of this story. The caption has been updated.