A wild scene developed last Tuesday evening as history was made in the Twin Towns when Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder, a conclusion that most reasonable and rational people had arrived at long before the trial. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Community members, activists, and members of families whose loved ones have been killed by police but have long been denied justice embraced. Tears flowed freely as shouts of joy could be heard far and wide.
In the nicely manicured lawn outside of the Hennepin County Courthouse, the national and international press were as numerous as the onlookers as they too waited with bated breath for a verdict that many felt certain was not going to go the way of justice.
Speakers made use of the makeshift wide and round barriers to encourage and cheer on the crowd as people gathered to hear the verdict. The same platform was used by activists as the verdict was announced to remind folks that this is only the beginning.
One activist, saying that the work is far from over, entreated the crowd to chant “Reopen All the Cases” and invited them to join families who have lost loved ones to police violence in Washington, D.C. on August 28 to demand that police be prosecuted in all cases of police violence.
Toshira Garraway of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence reminded the crowd that there are lots of other victims of police violence. “ For every well-known name and victim of police violence there are hundreds of others, “ shouted Garraway, urging the crowd to help those families get justice too. She specifically asked for support in efforts to reopen the case of her fiancé, Justin Tiegen, killed by St. Paul police over 10 years ago.
Floyd’s fiancé, Courtney Ross, was mobbed after press realized who she was. Activists surrounded her to allow her a private moment as she quietly sobbed. She eventually addressed the press at the makeshift speakers’ platform set up by activists on the scene.
“Floyd was a man,” she said, “and now he is a movement. This has been way too much pain…” Ross thanked the community for its support and, saying Floyd loved to pray, offered up a prayer of thanks herself.
George Floyd vindicated!
Find more Derek Chauvin murder trial and verdict coverage here.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.