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Crowds Erupt In Cheers In Minneapolis After Guilty Verdict

Apr 20, 2021
Originally published on April 20, 2021 7:48 pm

Cheers erupted from the large crowds gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Tuesday after the jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the death of George Floyd.

Guilty on all counts: unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

"George Floyd! Justice!"

The crowd spilled into the streets near the courthouse, with cars honking and demonstrators chanting and waving Black Lives Matter flags.

The "vibe was upbeat," wrote one reporter at the scene. It's a "celebratory atmosphere," a "party in the street," with people grilling burgers, said another. An overall "collective breath."

Downtown Minneapolis was the scene of "absolute jubilation," wrote Liz Sawyer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Car horns blaring for the last 10 minutes. Fists raised outside car windows. Flags [waving]. Chants of 'All three! All three!' "

"You can never fully get justice losing a loved one, but they're vindicated because his death was not in vain," Kim Griffin, 59, told Sawyer. "I'm happy for the [Floyd] family and I'm happy for the city. Even though we still have other trials to come, I think our city can start healing."

"This is our Super Bowl," said Jeff Compton, as he fought back tears.

People celebrate after hearing the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, now known as George Floyd Square.
Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Crowds also gathered 4 miles away at George Floyd Square, the renamed intersection in front of Cup Foods, where Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

People held up speakers, blasting live coverage of the trial to those around. Claps and cheers went out when the guilty verdict came in.

"I felt a yearlong weight lifted off my chest and shoulders," 19-year-old Ebony Moore told NPR. "It was overwhelming. I can't describe how I felt. The jurors did what they were supposed to do."

Moore said the community can now "really start to do some healing. ... This is a really big win for us, but we still have a long way to go."

NPR's David Schaper and Leila Fadel and Minnesota Public Radio's Matt Sepic, Tim Nelson and Brandt Williams contributed reporting.

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