MINNEAPOLIS – Silence fell on the courthouse lawn for a few moments as verdicts were read against former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin. Then the crowd erupted in cheers.
“GUILTY!” they shouted. “All three!”
Horns began to sound across town as the crowd happily chanted George Floyd’s name, no longer a cry of anger, but a cry of happiness.
“Say his name! GEORGE FLOYD! “
On Monday afternoon, Selena McKnight was in tears as she explained how racist police had devastated black communities like hers, as she helped lead a protest march around the courthouse.
Less than 24 hours outside the courthouse, tears were in his eyes again. She threw her arms around her 18-year-old daughter and joined the crowd to cheers.
“It means everything. It’s too long, “said McKnight, 46.” It feels good. But it does not stop there. We must continue. “
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A crowd of more than 100 journalists and a small number of neighborhood activists had gathered earlier to hear the verdict. For the first 20 minutes after the verdict was announced, a flood of office workers left the city center, their vehicles stranded in the streets.
“It’s so traumatic. We need a guilty verdict. We have to heal. We have to heal, ”said Amber Young, 50, a food services coordinator who worked for the same Salvation Army mission that Floyd had.
Young waved a Black Lives Matter flag in front of the Hennepin County Government Center while awaiting the verdict.
“We have been in mourning. Watching the video over and over again has been traumatic, ”she said. “We have to heal. We need a guilty verdict.
A few minutes before the verdict was read, a crowd of demonstrators who marched around the courthouse less than 24 hours earlier invaded the neighborhood.
Several said they saw the verdict as a referendum on relations with the government and the police. They said true justice would have lived in a world in which Floyd had never been killed.
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“What if George doesn’t understand?” Shut up! “The crowd shouted repeatedly.” Chauvin! Guilty! Chauvin! Guilty! “
Activist Brandyn Tulloch, 24, said justice would mean having a system that protects “my black life” the same way government protects its own buildings.
“My life, when taken, does not come back. George Floyd will never catch his breath again on this planet, ”he yelled. “We’re going to stay on the streets, we’re going to keep fighting until we feel the same justice that this building feels.