George Floyd: Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder
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.
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.