From Minnesota to New York to Florida, Americans triumphantly flooded streets Tuesday to celebrate and mark the moment when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd.
The largely peaceful demonstrations came as cities across the country prepared for possible violence that cropped up sporadically in last year’s protests after Floyd’s death, a landmark incident that sparked a reckoning in the U.S. over racial inequities and police brutality.
Some cities had already activated the National Guard as the Chauvin verdict loomed; others declared states of emergency.
Chauvin, who is white, was found guilty by a jury on all three charges in the death of Floyd, who is Black: second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He could face decades in prison at his sentencing in eight weeks.
Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill last summer and was seen on video being pinned to the ground by Chauvin’s knee for more than 9 minutes.
Minneapolis: Celebration outside courthouse, some residents flee city
A hush stretched over the dozens crowded outside the Hennepin County courthouse as the verdict was read.
“GULTY!” the crowd yelled. “All three!”
Horns begin blaring across the city as the crowd gleefully chanted Floyd‘s name. “Say his name! GEORGE FLOYD!” Some cried and hugged at George Floyd Square, the site of Floyd’s death.
Jennifer Starr Dodd, an organizer with Our Village Reunion, was in tears, embracing friends who were encouraging her to drink water. Her legs were shaking. She said the verdict gave her hope and allowed her to feel ready to heal. She said its a signal that her life and her children’s lives matter.
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