The former Minneapolis police officer who was seen in a video killing a Black man by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes was convicted Tuesday on counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Derek Chauvin faces 12 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, according to multiple national media reports. Prosecutors, however, could seek a longer sentence up to the maximum of 40 years, Reuters reported.
The conviction brings to an end a case that sparked global outcry about the treatment of Black Americans by law enforcement, and systemic racism still alive today in the U.S.—but by no means does it end the conversations spurred by the killing.
The four Santa Cruz County mayors—Capitola Mayor Yvette Brooks, Watsonville Mayor Jimmy Dutra, Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers and Scotts Valley Mayor Derek Timm—released a joint statement asking the community to “join together as we move toward justice and healing.”
“The heartbreaking murder of George Floyd and many other people of color has highlighted the systemic problem of racism throughout our country,” the statement read. “We are by no means close to ending the hundreds of years of injustices put on the shoulders of people of color. As leaders in Santa Cruz County we have the responsibility to implement and encourage change in our region. We stand with all communities of color, including the very ones we represent here in our diverse county.
“We urge our community to come together today and everyday in peaceful solidarity.”
Chauvin, 45, who is white, in the video was seen forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck on May 25, 2020, during an arrest in connection to Floyd’s alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store. Floyd, 46, was handcuffed while laying on the floor face down with Chauvin’s knee pressing on his neck. He could be heard saying he could not breath before he went unconscious.
The Santa Cruz County branch of the NAACP in a statement said that the trial “serves as a reminder of the urgent need to pass legislation to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities by preventing police brutality and allowing survivors and families of victims access to justice.”
“Countless victims like George Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor and now Daunte Wright have had their obituaries reopened, edited, rewritten, day after day,” the statement reads. “Our country has been relegated to no longer allowing the victim to rest in peace, but forcing their lives to be marred by public perception, criticism, and opinions as methods of rationalizing death as if our lives are expendable. Enough is Enough. This verdict offers a measure of justice but no consolation to the family and friends of Mr. Floyd. The time is now to not only reform but completely rethink the U.S. system of law enforcement.”