After 10 hours of deliberations over two days, the jury in the case against the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, returned its verdict: guilty as charged. Derek Chauvin, age 45, was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter on Tuesday afternoon. He could serve up to 40 years in prison for his crimes.
Despite the ongoing sorrow of the loss of life that ushered in the court case, there was a sense of relief and even jubilation around the nation. In Minneapolis, hundreds of people poured into the streets, some carrying banners. Others wept openly. Drivers blared horns in solidarity with those celebrating. Some claimed justice had been delivered for George Floyd.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison was quoted on Twitter, saying, “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step toward justice.”
It is true that nothing—including the decision of the jury and the sentence yet to be mandated by the judge—will restore the life of the man who died while the police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes after he was handcuffed, subdued, and no longer resisting the restrictions placed on him. In that regard, human justice is limited. Only God can raise the dead to life again. For that reason, taking another human life—even in legal situations of duress and difficulty—must be treated with extreme seriousness. The circumstances and actions of those involved must be examined, evaluated, and judged.
President Joe Biden welcomed the verdict. But he warned that it was not, in itself, a full solution. “We can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen again,” the President warned.
In the wake of Floyd’s death last May, protest demonstrations and scattered violence broke out in Minneapolis, around the nation, and beyond. In the months following the protests and riots, numerous states and cities restricted the use of force by police, revamped disciplinary systems, or subjected police departments to closer oversight.
(Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is taken into custody. Chauvin was found guilty on three counts in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Court TV via AP)
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8