A jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of three charges – second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter – over the death of George Floyd on 20 April 2021. (YouTube/ITV)
Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all charges of killing unarmed Black father George Floyd last May, and the LGBT+ community is reacting to the historic verdict.
The 12-member jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota, announced their verdict on Tuesday (20 April) after less than a day of deliberation. Chauvin was found guilty on three charges – second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter – after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the ground.
His sentencing is likely to happen in two months and Chauvin could spend decades in jail. Although it is widely believed that Chauvin will appeal his sentence.
Police officers have rarely been convicted – if charged at all – for deaths that occur in custody, especially deaths of Black people in custody. So the verdict in this trial has been seen as an indication of how the US legal system will hold the perpetrators of such incidents accountable in the future. The news of the verdict was met with celebration and caution in the LGBT+ community as many indicate that the work for true equality and justice continues.
Writer and trans activist Raquel Willis wrote on Twitter that Georgie Floyd’s murder “pushed many people to think more deeply about how white supremacy functions in our society”. She said: “Regardless of the verdict and what is said about Chauvin, we need people to stay engaged and motivated in the fight to end systems of oppression.”
George Floyd’s murder pushed many people to think more deeply about how white supremacy functions in our society. Regardless of the verdict and what is said about Chauvin, we need people to stay engaged and motivated in the fight to end systems of oppression.
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) April 20, 2021
Actor Natasha Rothwell said the verdict “isn’t a pacifier for the movement, it’s gasoline”.
Just so we’re clear: this verdict isn’t a pacifier for the movement, it’s gasoline. Proceed accordingly.
— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) April 20, 2021
LGBT+ icon and Pose star Billy Porter simply wrote: “LOCK! HIM! UP!”
LOCK! HIM! UP!
— Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) April 20, 2021
Activist and poet Amanda Gorman, who read her powerful work at president Biden’s inauguration, reminded people that “victory would be George Floyd being alive”.
“Everyday Black Americans worry if they will be next is another day without justice,” Gorman wrote.
A reminder that victory would be George Floyd being alive. Every day Black Americans worry if they will be next is another day without justice.
— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) April 20, 2021
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote that “some small semblance of justice and accountability have been served” through the Chauvin conviction. But he warned a “transformation of policing is long past due”.
A jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty in the death of George Floyd.
Though this verdict cannot bring Floyd back, and a transformation of policing is long past due, some small semblance of justice and accountability have been served today.
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) April 20, 2021
Drag Race star Symone, who famously wore a Black Lives Matter-inspired outfit on the runway, celebrated the news Chauvin was found guilty.
GUILTY!!! 🙌🏾 #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
— Symone (@the_symonee) April 20, 2021
Three other former police officers – Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng – also face charges in connection with Floyd’s death. The three face charges that they aided and abetted second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd. Aiding and abetting murder is punishable by up to 40 years in prison, according to Reuters.
They are to be tried in August.