Bystanders who shouted at Minneapolis police officers to stop forcefully restraining George Floyd before his death expressed gratitude for the murder conviction of former officer Derek Chauvin, whose trial concluded Tuesday.
A dozen jurors found Chauvin guilty on all three counts against him ― second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter ― for pinning Floyd with his knee for nearly 10 minutes. Chauvin, who was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody, faces up to 40 years behind bars when he’s sentenced in about two months.
Darnella Frazier, who had the presence of mind to take out her phone and start recording the arrest, said on her Facebook page that she cried upon hearing the verdict.
“My heart goes out to George Floyd’s family!” Frazier wrote on Instagram.
Frazier was 17 years old on May 25, 2020, the day of Floyd’s death. She was one of several witnesses called by prosecutors who were minors at the time. Frazier had gone to the convenience store Cup Foods with her even younger cousin when they saw officers roughly handling a Black man they later learned was Floyd.
Her video is credited with sparking national outrage over Floyd’s arrest, which led to a global outpouring of support for anti-racism and police reforms.
“Although no amount of charges will bring back a loved one, justice was served and his murderer will pay the price. We did it,” Frazier wrote.
Outside the courthouse on Tuesday, Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, spoke to a crowd of supporters with emotion in her voice.
“God is good,” she said, before directing her attention to the activists who surrounded her.
“I can’t thank you enough. Floyd can’t thank you enough,” Ross said. “His spirit is here with you all.”
‘God is good; God proved that today' — Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, emotionally addressed a crowd following the jury’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial pic.twitter.com/JCErvzSl0x
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 20, 2021
Donald Williams stood alongside Frazier and her cousin on the curb while police restrained Floyd. He testified in court that he “witnessed a murder” that day.
On Wednesday morning, Williams spoke about the verdict with “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, saying he was “excited” that the Floyd family “finally got justice.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 21, 2021
“A lot of weight is off my shoulders,” Williams said. During the trial, prosecutors discussed his experience as a mixed martial arts fighter, which informed Williams’ belief that Chauvin’s method of restraint ― a “blood choke,” in Williams’ words ― was potentially deadly.
“The world is starting to make a change,” Williams said.
Williams also explained that he had not watched any of the videos of Floyd’s arrest “just for my own sake” until being called to testify. At one point during his time on the stand, he used a tissue to dab his eyes.
“It was very, very emotional to relive that scene again in court,” Williams said Wednesday.
“CBS This Morning” host Gayle King spoke with another witness, Charles McMillian, an older bystander who tried to persuade Floyd to go quietly with the officers, and tried to convince the officers to stop using force.
While watching video of the arrest during Chauvin’s trial, McMillian broke into tears on the stand, prompting Judge Peter Cahill to call a short break.
Charles McMillian was a bystander and a witness for the prosecution and broke down in court during the #DerekChauvinTrial after watching footage of George Floyd's fatal encounter with police.He sat down exclusively with @GayleKing to discuss his reaction to the verdict. pic.twitter.com/wbJ8wmomBK
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) April 21, 2021
McMillian said he was “surprised” by the jury’s verdicts.
“I work at a car wash, and somebody came [and said], man, you really did it,” he told King.
The other three former officers who helped Chauvin will face trial in late August.
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