Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury Tuesday for his role in the murder of George Floyd last May outside of a local convenience store.
The death of Floyd, who was Black, and the video that showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes, became a catalyst for the sports world’s racial and social justice movement last summer.
A jury of six white, four Black and two multiracial jurors deliberated 10.5 hours over two days — four hours on Monday; 6.5 hours on Tuesday — before rendering a verdict. ABCNews.com has full coverage of the decision.
Chauvin faces a 40-year maximum sentence for the second-degree unintentional murder conviction, a 25-year sentence for third-degree murder and a 10-year sentence for second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin’s bail was immediately revoked, and his sentencing will be in eight weeks.
“One year ago, George Floyd was murdered, causing unimaginable pain and trauma for his family, the Minneapolis community, and communities across the nation,” the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx said in a joint statement Tuesday. “Our deepest thoughts have been with the Floyd family since this unjust tragedy. Throughout our history, racial and social inequalities have been ingrained in our society.
“We are hopeful that today’s decision will serve as a step forward, but it does not ease the physical and emotional pain that continues in an environment where systemic racism exists.”
Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said, “We’ve got to come together in just simple humanity” and pointed to sports’ ability to serve as a bridge.
“We’re working through things here in Minneapolis,” Rosas said Tuesday night on ESPN Radio’s Freddie and Fitzsimmons. “This community has gone through a lot, and while today was a good day, a positive day, I think there’s a real sense of reality in terms of what we’re all living. This is an incredible community, and we have to be active participants in getting our community in a place where it’s safe for everyone.”
The Timberwolves dedicated Tuesday night’s game ball to Floyd’s family, small forward Josh Okogie said.
Floyd’s death led to nationwide protests and prompted athletes throughout the sports world to speak out about social and racial injustice. Former NBA player Stephen Jackson traveled to Minnesota the week Floyd died and said, “I’m hurt, I’m angry, but I ain’t scared,” in an emotional speech alongside Okogie and fellow Timberwolves player Karl-Anthony Towns. Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics drove 15 hours to march at a protest in Atlanta.
NBA and WNBA players spoke out frequently, and both leagues resumed their seasons with “Black Lives Matter” painted on the court. “Through peaceful protest, we must demand strong leadership at all levels that is equally committed to achieving true social justice,” the Women’s National Basketball Players Association said in a statement the week of Floyd’s death.
As news of Floyd’s death spread, LeBron James posted a Twitter message with a photo of Floyd alongside an image of Colin Kaepernick and wrote, “Do you understand NOW!!??!!??” Magic Johnson tweeted, “How many times do we have to see Black men killed on national television?” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr tweeted, “This is murder. Disgusting. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with US????”
On Tuesday, James tweeted just one word: “ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association issued a joint statement Tuesday, saying, “we are pleased that justice appears to have been served” but also adding that “there is much work to be done.” The WNBA said the verdict was “a step toward justice.”
“We, as a league, we really didn’t know if we were going to play this game,” McMillan said. “… I feel that the jury did their jobs. You got to hold everybody accountable for their actions. The jury found him guilty on all three charges. I thought they did their jobs.”
Last spring, a group of NFL players, including Patrick Mahomes, appeared in a Twitter video that started with “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered. How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players? What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?” and asking, “What if I was George Floyd?”
When the NFL season opened in September, the Minnesota Vikings honored Floyd’s family at their opener with a moment of silence and silencing the team’s signature Gjallarhorn in his honor.
“Mr. George Floyd should be here with us today,” the NFL said in a statement Tuesday.
The NFL had every team play “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” often called the Black national anthem, before season openers, and players wore the names of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black men and women killed by police on the back of their helmets.
“The past year following George Floyd’s death has been extremely painful for the Minnesota community, particularly for the State’s Black residents,” the Vikings said in a statement Tuesday. “While today’s decision does not minimize the anguish or solve the intolerable issues of racism and hate, we hope it can mark the beginning of community healing.
“Now, more than ever, it is crucial to respectfully listen, communicate and engage in order for us to move forward toward an equitable society. … Our work is just beginning. Our commitment is unwavering.”