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Floyd verdict was appropriate, not unexpected

A prosecutor told the jurors to “believe your eyes” as a video of George Floyd’s death last May beneath the knee of Derek Chauvin was replayed in closing arguments on Monday in the former police officer’s murder trial. It appears the jury chose to follow that advice.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that touched off worldwide protests, violence and a furious re-examination of racism and policing in the U.S., according to an article by The Associated Press.

Chauvin, 45, was immediately led away with his hands cuffed behind his back and could be sent to prison for decades.

The verdict — guilty on all counts, in a clear-cut victory for Floyd’s supporters — set off jubilation tinged with sorrow around the city. Hundreds of people poured into the streets, some running through traffic with banners. Cars blared their horns.

“Today, we are able to breathe again,” Floyd’s younger brother Philonise said at a joyous family news conference where tears streamed down his face as he likened Floyd to the 1955 Mississippi lynching victim Emmett Till, except that this time there were cameras around to show the world what happened.

The jury of six Whites and six Black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. The now-fired white officer was found guilty as charged of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

President Joe Biden welcomed the verdict, saying Floyd’s death was “a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world” to see systemic racism. But he warned: “It’s not enough. We can’t stop here. We’re going to deliver real change and reform. We can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen again.”

We certainly agree with the verdict; this was a crime we all witnessed, and it should be punished as such. However, we also believe this is just the beginning of what we hope will be sweeping changes for policing in America.

This is a monumental moment in this country’s progress, but it must not stop here. We must do more to ensure the safety of all our country’s people and there must always be consequences for our actions — both our average citizens and our police force.

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