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'Black lives do, in fact, matter': US newspapers react to George Floyd verdict

Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s murder yesterday.

THE WORLD IS still reacting to yesterday’s verdict in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.

Chauvin was convicted of murdering the African-American after a racially charged trial seen as a pivotal test of police accountability in the United States.

The jury deliberated for less than 11 hours before finding 45-year-old Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him.

Newspapers in the United States and elsewhere have given their reaction.

The Washington Post reports that Floyd’s family “say they can breathe again” and that there were “tears and jubilation” outside the court following the verdict.

WApo Source: Washington Post

The New York Times said the verdict was a “rare rebuke of police violence in the US”,  describing the reaction afterwards as one of “catharsis and relief”.

NY TImes Source: New York Times

The Wall Street Journal opted for a more low-key splash, simply stating that Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison.

WSJ Source: The Wall Street Journal

USA Today shows an image of black Americans embracing, running with front-page analysis stating that the verdict means that “black lives do, in fact, matter” and that it has provided a “glimpse of what justice in policing looks like”.

Ezc5OnIWQAA5McB Source: USA Today

And Minneapolis newspaper the StarTribune described the verdict as “a moment of victory in a history of injustice”.

EzeDTVoVkAQcxKW Source: StarTribune

‘Justice for all of America’

Elsewhere, there were scenes of relief across the US following the delivery of the verdict.

Crowds which had gathered outside the Minneapolis courtroom erupted in cheers afterwards, and some wept tears of relief.

Celebrations soon moved to the south of the city, where more than 1,000 people came together at the street corner where Floyd suffocated to death under Chauvin’s knee.

George Floyd’s brother Rodney told the AFP news agency that black people in America had been victims of deadly injustice at the hands of the authorities for hundreds of years.

“We needed a victory in this case, it’s very important, and we got it and hey, we might actually breathe a little bit better now,” he added.

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Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump hailed the conviction as a landmark victory for civil rights and a springboard to legislation currently before Congress to reform police forces in their dealings with minorities.

“This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement,” he tweeted.

“Justice for black America is justice for all of America!”

US President Joe Biden called members of the Floyd family to say he was “relieved” by the verdicts, then later he and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the nation in televised remarks.

“This can be a giant step forward in the march towards justice in America,” Biden said, as he called on citizens to “unite” against racism and violence.

Former US president Barack Obama says the conviction of Chauvin was correct, but only one step in the fight for justice.

In a statement, he added that true justice required Americans to understand that “Black Americans are being treated differently every day” and that millions live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last.

- Contains reporting by © AFP 2021.

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