Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on Tuesday on all charges brought against him in connection to his killing of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. Members of Floyd’s family had been watching the trial and news cameras captured their overjoyed reactions as they heard the verdict over the TV while sitting with their legal team:
Other members of the family watched the verdict from their home in Houston, Texas:
Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing the Floyds, also tweeted out a video of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris calling the family to express their satisfaction with the verdict. “Nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there’s some justice,” Biden said. “You’re an incredible family.” Harris told them, “This is a day of justice in America. Your family have been real leaders at this moment where we needed you.”
At a press conference shortly afterward, the family linked arms and bowed their heads as the Rev. Al Sharpton recited a prayer. Sharpton held prayers with the family throughout the trial.
George Floyd’s younger brother, Philonise, spoke through tears at that same press conference and invoked the memory of Emmet Till, the 14-year-old Black boy who was notoriously murdered in 1955. Philonise referred to Till as “the first George Floyd.” He talked about how the existence of video footage of his brother’s death helped to raise awareness about the case, but also served as an emotional burden. “It was a motion picture. The world’s seen his life extinguished,” Philonise said. “And I could do nothing but watch, especially in that courtroom, over and over and over again as my brother was murdered.” Terrence, another of George Floyd’s younger siblings, spoke about his relationship with his older brother. “He showed me how to be strong,” Terrence said. “He showed me how to be respectful. He showed me how to speak my mind. I’m going to miss him, but now I know he’s in history. What a day to be a Floyd.” George’s youngest brother, Rodney Floyd, pressed lawmakers to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would in part ban qualified immunity and chokeholds for law enforcement. “For George this fight is not over. We’re going to stand here together. We’re going to try to get this George Floyd Act passed,” Rodney said. “The act has to be passed, people. It has to be. We’re going to keep pressure on the Senate.” The House passed the bill in March, though it could face opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate.
Shortly before the reading of the verdict, the Floyd family had been receiving gestures of moral support. Biden called the family on Monday as well to offer his prayers and sympathies. Philonise told NBC after the call that Biden “knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through, so he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything will come out to be OK.” (The president’s son Beau died from cancer in 2015, and his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972.) Biden said to reporters on Tuesday that he was praying for the “right verdict, which is, I think it’s overwhelming in my view.” The family of Emmett Till was also reportedly with the Floyds to comfort them as the jury was deliberating.