As Biden Calls for Quick Action, Obstacles Remain for Policing Overhaul

April 21, 2021, 2:31 p.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 2:31 p.m. ET

Demonstrators protested the killing of George Floyd last summer in Minneapolis.
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The moment of collective grief and anger over the killing of George Floyd began quickly last year, driven by a terrifying video and word of mouth. It swiftly gave way to a yearlong, nationwide deliberation on what it means to be Black in America.

First came demonstrations across the nation, the largest mass protest movement in U.S. history. Then, over the next several months, nearly 170 Confederate symbols were renamed or removed from public spaces. Calls for racial justice would touch seemingly every aspect of American life on a scale that historians say had not happened since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

On Tuesday, when Derek Chauvin was convicted of two counts of murder as well as manslaughter for killing Mr. Floyd, the verdict brought some solace to activists for racial justice. But for many Black Americans, real change feels elusive, particularly given how relentlessly the killing of Black men by the police has continued, including the recent shooting death of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb.

There are also signs of backlash: Legislation that would reduce voting access, protect the police and effectively criminalize public protests has sprung up in Republican-controlled state legislatures.

Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, said to call what had transpired over the past year a racial reckoning was not right.

“Reckoning suggests that we are truly struggling with how to reimagine everything from criminal justice to food deserts to health disparities — we are not doing that,” he said. Tuesday’s guilty verdict, he said, “is addressing a symptom, but we have not yet dealt with the disease.”

Mr. Floyd’s death did, however, drive some changes, at least for now, among non-Republican white Americans in their awareness of racial inequality and support for reforms. And it helped cement the movement of college-educated suburban voters toward the Democratic Party.

“The year 2020 is going to go down in our history books as a very significant, very catalytic time,” said David Bailey, whose Richmond, Va.-based nonprofit, Arrabon, helps churches around the country do racial reconciliation work. “People’s attitudes have changed at some level. We don’t know fully all of what that means. But I am hopeful I am seeing something different.”

One clear policy outcome has been changes to policing. More than 30 states have passed new police oversight and reform laws since Mr. Floyd’s killing, giving states more authority and putting long-powerful police unions on the defensive. The changes include restricting the use of force, overhauling disciplinary systems, installing more civilian oversight and requiring transparency around misconduct cases.

“We will forever look back at this moment in American history. George Floyd’s death created a new energy around making changes, though it’s not clear how lasting they will be,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change.

April 21, 2021, 1:07 p.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 1:07 p.m. ET

A single cell of the Administrative Control Unit in Oak Park Heights, Minn., where Derek Chauvin is being held.
Credit…Minnesota Department of Corrections via, Getty Images

Derek Chauvin is being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day in Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison after he was convicted of murdering George Floyd and led out of a courtroom in handcuffs, according to authorities.

Mr. Chauvin, 45, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last May, was sent to the prison, in Oak Park Heights, Minn., a suburb of St. Paul, after the verdict was read on Tuesday. He has been placed in an isolated wing of the prison because of fears for his safety, said Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the state prison system.

Mr. Chauvin, who is being held as he waits to be sentenced, will be alone in his cell for all but one hour each day, during which he is allowed to exercise. Even then, he will be kept away from all other prisoners and remain under the watch of prison guards inside the unit.

The court on Wednesday set June 16 as the date for Mr. Chauvin’s sentencing, according to a source familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Though prison officials say Mr. Chauvin is being isolated for his own safety, prisoners are often sent to the wing, known as the Administrative Control Unit, as a punishment.

The cells are small and contain nothing more than a bench with a mattress pad, a combination toilet and sink, and a tiny shower. Prisoners are allowed to bring in necessities like clothing, toothpaste and soap, as well as a pen and paper. In some cases, they may also receive books, magazines or newspapers, but only if prison officials approve.

The cells are monitored by cameras, and guards are expected to look in on prisoners every 30 minutes to make sure they are there and healthy. A mental health expert must interview and write a report about any person who is held in the unit for more than 30 days, according to the state prison system’s website.

There were 41 prisoners being held in the isolated unit on Wednesday, just over 10 percent of the total number of people incarcerated at the prison.

Mr. Chauvin had been free on bond since October, but Judge Peter A. Cahill ordered him to be taken into custody after the verdict. Mr. Chauvin faces more than a decade in prison for second-degree murder, the most severe charge. He arrived at the prison just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, less than an hour after the jury’s verdict was read.

April 21, 2021, 12:58 p.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 12:58 p.m. ET

Student activists from South High School in Minneapolis hung a banner in support of George Floyd in April.
Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

Educators in Minneapolis and across the nation have grappled over the last few weeks with how to discuss the Derek Chauvin trial with their students, with some using jury selection or witness testimony as an opportunity to explore the complex issues of race, policing and the criminal justice system.

On Wednesday, their focus shifted to the verdict after a jury convicted Mr. Chauvin on three counts of murder and manslaughter for killing George Floyd.

Emily Beenen, a high school English teacher in Albuquerque, N.M., said she would have “just a very simple debrief” with her students and then ask some basic questions, such as: What do you think? How do you feel?

“I am not trying to traumatize anybody, but you want to acknowledge their lived experience, but do so in an academic way and in a supportive way,” said Ms. Beenen, who teaches mostly Native students. “It kind of gives these names to these things that they already see and know around them.”

Teachers said it was difficult to avoid discussing a topic that dominates public consciousness, especially in a subject like social studies that usually includes a focus on current events. “When it’s plastered all over the news, they have questions,” said Lacrissha Walton, a teacher in Minneapolis.

Many teachers said they opened their conversations with students by reviewing the basic facts of the case. Some framed ethical questions by discussing Darnella Frazier, a teenager who filmed the murder of Mr. Floyd and upended the police department’s highly misleading initial description of his death. Others found ways to tie the current events to the curriculum.

“We don’t teach any of these things in a vacuum,” said Ms. Beenen. “The idea of critical thinking is that you are always critical thinking, making these connections to other texts, in your life, in the news, in politics.”

Jasmine Hobson Rodriguez, who teaches English in Hesperia, Calif., said she would use her class to help her high school students think through the moment.

“I will make sure my kids have the space to talk about what they want to talk about, or not,” she said. “And then we’re going to go back to reading ‘The Great Gatsby.’”

April 21, 2021, 11:48 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 11:48 a.m. ET

Protesters in Minneapolis celebrate the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin on Tuesday, at the memorial where Mr. Chauvin murdered George Floyd.
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Minutes after the jury delivered a guilty verdict in the murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, President Biden called George Floyd’s family with a pledge: He would do everything in his power to usher an ambitious policing overhaul into law.

“We’re going to stay at it until we get it done,” the president said, referring to Democrats’ policing bill, which is named after Mr. Floyd and has languished in Congress.

Mr. Biden was not alone in his optimism. Lawmakers in both parties expressed hope on Wednesday that the conviction could open a rare window of opportunity to break the stalemate that kept Congress from passing even a single criminal justice bill last summer, as millions of protesters marched in the streets demanding action.

“We will not rest until the Senate passes strong legislation to end the systemic bias in law enforcement,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said on Wednesday.

But to do so, Democrats and Republicans would have to resolve the same stubborn ideological and political differences that thwarted past efforts. Democrats in Congress have pressed for aggressive action to rein in the excessive use of force and racial discrimination in policing, though they have stopped short of trying to defund police departments, as some of the most progressive lawmakers have advocated.

Republicans have pushed back on such tough measures, saying the federal government should not mandate how the police do their jobs, only offer incentives and training. And they have worked to portray Democrats as anti-law-enforcement extremists, a potent line of attack during last year’s election.

The most contentious issue in the legislative debate has been whether Congress should curtail the protections known as qualified immunity, as Democrats have proposed, removing a shield that protects officers in civil court cases.

Representative Karen Bass, Democrat of California and the lead author of her party’s bill, said late Tuesday that she was hopeful that the guilty verdict and the swell of relief that followed would soften the hardened political lines.

“I am interested in making a difference. I do not care about making a point,” she said in an interview, signaling flexibility from Democrats. “I can make a point and stand on a high horse, but that doesn’t get me anywhere.”

Ms. Bass; Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina; and a smattering of other interested lawmakers have engaged in informal talks about the bill for weeks, trying to find a way to break the impasse. Ms. Bass said on Tuesday that she would press House and Senate leaders to appoint a bipartisan negotiating committee of lawmakers to formalize the talks and try to put together a consensus bill in the coming weeks.

Mr. Scott, who wrote a narrower Republican alternative to Ms. Bass’s bill that Democrats thwarted in the Senate, said that he believed the group was “in a position now to move it forward,” and that he was “cautiously optimistic” that lawmakers could reach an agreement “sooner rather than later.”

Hopes that lawmakers would respond to the national outcry for reform were scuttled last summer after Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-led effort to pass the more modest package, which would have encouraged state and local police departments to change their practices, including penalizing departments that did not require the use of body cameras and limiting the use of chokeholds. Unlike the Democratic proposal, it would not have altered the qualified immunity doctrine that shields officers from lawsuits or placed new federal restrictions on the use of lethal force.

Democrats derided the Republican bill as an inadequate response to a systemic problem and said they would dismiss any legislation that did not comprehensively address the issue of bias in policing. Republicans, in turn, accused them of walking away from the negotiating table to score political points before the November elections.

April 21, 2021, 11:30 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 11:30 a.m. ET

The 12 members of the jury who convicted Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd remained anonymous throughout the trial. Their names were not made public and their faces were not shown on camera.

But now that they have reached a verdict, information about the jurors — beyond their race, age and gender — and their deliberations may come out.

Jurors are free to publicly discuss their service once they are released from service, according to a spokesman for the Hennepin County District Court, where the trial was held. Their names will eventually be released.

Seven women and five men served on the jury, with six white jurors, four Black jurors and two who identified as biracial. They unanimously agreed to convict Mr. Chauvin, a former police officer, on charges of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

It is typical for the anonymity for jurors to end at the conclusion of a trial, but a judge can decide to extend it, said Valerie Hans, a professor at Cornell Law School and an expert on the jury system. The practice was first used during high-profile organized crime cases if a judge decided the jurors needed protection from the defendant and his associates, she said.

According to Minnesota’s rules of criminal procedure, “the court may restrict access to juror identity as long as necessary to protect the jurors” from “external threats to its members’ safety or impartiality.”

Jurors from other high-profile cases have written books, given interviews to the news media and appeared in documentaries.

But life most likely will not immediately return to normal for the jurors in the Chauvin trial, Dr. Hans said. They probably felt intense pressure while deliberating, she said, and the case could have taken an emotional toll.

“I would expect the jurors have from the very beginning, when they first got the summons and realized which case they were going to be experiencing, recognized the intense public interest about it,” Dr. Hans said.

April 21, 2021, 10:17 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 10:17 a.m. ET







Attorney General Announces Investigation Into Minneapolis Police

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on Wednesday a new civil investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department for misconduct, separate from the ongoing federal investigation into the death of George Floyd.

Like so many of you, I have closely watched the events in Minnesota. Although the state’s prosecution was successful, I know that nothing can fill the void that the loved ones of George Floyd have felt since his death. My heart goes out to them, and to all those who have experienced similar loss. I know such wounds have deep roots, and that too many communities have experienced those wounds firsthand. Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues In Minneapolis. Today, I am announcing that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing. This effort will be staffed by experienced attorneys and other personnel from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. The new civil investigation is separate from and independent of the federal criminal investigation into the death of George Floyd that the Justice Department has previously announced.

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on Wednesday a new civil investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department for misconduct, separate from the ongoing federal investigation into the death of George Floyd.CreditCredit…Pool photo by Andrew Harnik

The Justice Department will investigate the policies and operations of the Minneapolis Police Department, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on Wednesday, a day after the former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd in a rare rebuke of police violence.

“The Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” Mr. Garland said in brief remarks at the Justice Department.

Such investigations are often the precursors to court-approved deals between the Justice Department and local governments that create and enforce a road map for training and operational changes.

Mr. Garland’s announcement came a day after the conviction of Mr. Chauvin, who was fired by the Minneapolis Police Department last year after gruesome video of him kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes sparked protests across the nation.

The inquiry into the department is separate from the existing Justice Department investigation into whether Mr. Chauvin violated Mr. Floyd’s civil rights. It will be led by lawyers and staff in the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota.

Investigators will seek to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests; whether it engages in discriminatory conduct; and whether its treatment of those with behavioral health disabilities is unlawful. They will also review the department’s policies, training, supervision and use-of-force investigations, and whether its current systems of accountability are effective at ensuring that police officers act lawfully.

If the investigators find that the police department has engaged in unlawful policing, Mr. Garland said the Justice Department would issue a public report. It also has the option to bring a civil suit against the department and enter into a settlement agreement, or consent decree, to ensure that prompt and effective action is taken to bring the department’s practices into compliance with the law.

On Friday, Mr. Garland restored the robust use of consent decrees, rescinding a Trump administration policy that largely curbed their use. The Obama administration had repeatedly used the tool to address police misconduct. The restoration of consent decrees was one of the Biden administration’s first significant moves to hold police forces accountable in cases where they are found to have violated federal laws.

“Most of our nation’s law enforcement officers do their difficult jobs honorably and lawfully,” Mr. Garland said. “I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices.”

The challenges that the nation faces in addressing systemic racial inequities “are deeply woven into our history,” Mr. Garland said, adding that it would take time and effort by all to build “trust between community and law enforcement.”

April 21, 2021, 10:04 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 10:04 a.m. ET







In Harlem, Chauvin Verdict Represents ‘a Little Bit of Justice’

The final verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin was broadcast live across the country. Our camera captured reaction from New York.

“Well, we’re waiting for the verdict I’m just hoping that, you know, the verdict is just. We get the wrong side of the verdict most of the time. It’s sad, but you become numb to it. Looks like they’re about to say it.” “Verdict, Count 1: guilty.” “But we have to see all the counts.” “… find the defendant guilty …” “OK. They made sure he got all of them.” “Are these your true and correct verdicts?” “Yes.” “Finally. Finally. That’s good.” “I’m glad he’s guilty, basically. Saving, I guess, a lot of trouble on tonight’s news. A lot of fires. A lot of shootings.” “Hey, a little bit of justice. That’s all I can say. One down, a million to go.”

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The final verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin was broadcast live across the country. Our camera captured reaction from New York.CreditCredit…Yousur Al-Hlou

At the AK Barber Shop in Harlem, customers waited with anticipation as Judge Peter A. Cahill announced the jury’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

“Well, we’re waiting for the verdict I’m just hoping that, you know, the verdict is just,” said Brandon Baez, a customer who sat in the barbershop as electric trimmers buzzed in the background.

“We get the wrong side of the verdict most of the time,” he said. “It’s sad, but you become numb to it.”

The three guilty counts were read, one by one.

“Hey, a little bit of justice,” Mr. Baez said. “That’s all I can say. One down, a million to go.”

April 21, 2021, 10:02 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 10:02 a.m. ET







Protests in Columbus After a Teenage Girl Is Killed by the Police

Hours after a jury reached a guilty verdict in the murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, protesters took to the streets in Columbus, Ohio, after a teenage girl, Ma’Khia Bryant, was fatally shot by an officer.

“Black women matter — Black women matter. Black girls matter — Black girls matter.” “Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant. Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant. Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant. Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant. Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant. Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant. Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant. Say her name — Ma’Khia Bryant.” [cars honking]

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Hours after a jury reached a guilty verdict in the murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, protesters took to the streets in Columbus, Ohio, after a teenage girl, Ma’Khia Bryant, was fatally shot by an officer.CreditCredit…Stephen Zenner/Getty Images

A teenage girl who the police say threatened two girls with a knife was fatally shot by an officer in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before a judge read the guilty verdict in the murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in last year’s killing of George Floyd.

The girl’s death cast an immediate pall over public expressions that justice had been served in Mr. Floyd’s case and touched off protests in Ohio’s capital city.

At a news conference on Tuesday night, the Columbus Division of Police released body camera footage from the officer, who officials said had been responding to a 911 call about an attempted stabbing around 4:45 p.m. in the southeastern part of the city.

Officials said the video showed the teenager lunging at two other females with a knife as the officer arrived at the driveway of a residence. The officer then fired several times — four shots could be heard in the video — at the girl. She collapsed to the ground next to a car that had been parked in the driveway, where the body camera footage showed a knife on the ground.

The girl who was killed was identified as Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, by a spokeswoman for Franklin County Children’s Services, who said in an email on Tuesday night that Ma’Khia had been in foster care.

“No matter what the circumstances, that family is in agony and they are in my prayers,” Ned Pettus Jr., the public safety director for the city of Columbus, said during the news conference. “They deserve answers. Our city deserves answers. I want answers, but fast, quick answers cannot come at the cost of accurate answers.”

April 21, 2021, 9:42 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 9:42 a.m. ET

People gathered in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Washington and other cities on Tuesday in response to Derek Chauvin being found guilty in the murder of George Floyd. Follow our visual coverage here.

April 21, 2021, 8:53 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 8:53 a.m. ET

From left: The former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane.
Credit…Hennepin County Jail, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Now that the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty in the murder of George Floyd, attention is turning to the coming trial of the other three officers who were involved in the arrest. All three were fired the day after Mr. Floyd’s death, and they are expected to be tried jointly beginning in August.

On June 3, Hennepin County prosecutors charged Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Mr. Kueng and Mr. Lane, both newly trained officers, arrived at the scene first and approached Mr. Floyd’s car. Mr. Lane drew his handgun and pointed it at Mr. Floyd through an open window, putting the gun back in his holster after Mr. Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel.

Mr. Thao and Mr. Chauvin arrived later, when the first two officers were trying to get Mr. Floyd into the squad car. Once Mr. Floyd was on the ground, Mr. Lane held his legs, and Mr. Kueng held his back. Mr. Thao stood nearby and interacted with bystanders.

Mr. Lane and Mr. Kueng were both in their first week on the job as full officers. Mr. Kueng, who was 26 at the time, was the youngest and least experienced officer at the scene. It was his third shift as a full officer. He was trained largely by Mr. Chauvin. Neither Mr. Kueng nor Mr. Lane had prior misconduct complaints filed against them, according to the Minneapolis Police Department.

Mr. Thao, who was 34 at the time of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, had been with the Minneapolis Police Department for nine years. He faced six misconduct complaints in his career with the department. He also was the subject of a lawsuit that claimed that he and another officer punched, kicked and kneed a Black man, leaving him with broken teeth and bruises. A lawyer involved in the case said the city settled the case by agreeing to pay $25,000.

April 21, 2021, 7:04 a.m. ET

April 21, 2021, 7:04 a.m. ET

A march in Atlanta after Derek Chauvin’s verdict was announced on Tuesday.
Credit…Megan Varner/Getty Images

The widespread celebration that followed the conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer for the murder of George Floyd left a lingering question for many: Would the verdict have any lasting impact on policing in America?

Derek Chauvin’s conviction on all counts — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — meant that the 45-year-old former officer, a nearly 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force, could face years in prison for the brutal encounter that ended Mr. Floyd’s life.

President Biden called the verdict “too rare” and said that it should serve as a catalyst for reforms in law enforcement. In the wake of the jury’s decision, there are broad calls in many cities for recalibrating the relationship between the police and the public.

The verdict brought some sense of closure in the death of Mr. Floyd, who died on May 25, particularly to those who were close to him. But on the larger issue of police killings and use of force around the country, there were challenges ahead. More than three people a day were killed at the hands of law enforcement during Mr. Chauvin’s trial.

Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, said the country has yet to reckon with the systemic problems that Black activists have pointed to for decades.

“Reckoning suggests that we are truly struggling with how to reimagine everything from criminal justice to food deserts to health disparities — we are not doing that,” he said. The verdict, he said, “is addressing a symptom, but we have not yet dealt with the disease.”

While some state legislatures have passed law enforcement reform bills, including bans on no-knock warrants and chokeholds, others have taken the opposite approach. Several states are considering bills that could effectively criminalize public protests.

Officials and law enforcement agencies across the country had braced for mass protests and possible civil unrest if the jury had found Mr. Chauvin not guilty of murder.

But after Mr. Chauvin was escorted from the courtroom in handcuffs, a crowd outside the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis erupted in cheers. Most public gatherings nationwide were largely celebratory, with some activists Tuesday night calling for continued public attention on other recent police shootings.

People across the country expressed a sense of relief and hopefulness, from New York to Donna, Texas.

“That blue wall of silence may be finally cracking,” said Juan Carmona, the head of the social studies department at Donna High School in the border town of Donna. “Police officers are like anybody else, and they’re seeing what’s happening in the country.”

April 20, 2021, 8:57 p.m. ET

April 20, 2021, 8:57 p.m. ET

Darnella Frazier, wearing blue pants at right, recorded the widely seen video of George Floyd’s arrest.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

The Minneapolis Police Department’s initial inaccurate and misleading description of George Floyd’s death last May “might have become the official account” of what took place, had it not been for video taken by a teenage bystander, Keith Boykin, a CNN commentator, wrote on Twitter.

The video, taken by Darnella Frazier, emerged the night of Mr. Floyd’s death and drove much of the public’s understanding of what took place. Chief Medaria Arradondo of the police department testified at Mr. Chauvin’s trial that within hours of Mr. Floyd’s death he received a text from a local resident telling him about the video.

Later, Chief Arradondo, who testified as a witness for the prosecution at Mr. Chauvin’s trial, praised Ms. Frazier for her actions.







From Rodney King to George Floyd: Reliving the Scars of Police Violence

The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing. But cycles of protests over systemic racism and policing are not new. We watched the trial with the families of Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Stephon Clark to see this moment in history through their eyes.

“May it please the court. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning. The video evidence, I think, will be very helpful and meaningful to you because you can see it for yourself without lawyer talk, lawyer spin, lawyer anything. You can see it for yourself.” “Please. Please. I can’t breathe. Please, man. Please somebody help me. Please. I’m about to die in this thing.” “Oh my God.” “What did he say?” “He said, I’m about to die. Oh my God.” “While watching the George Floyd trial, I noticed the differences and the importance of footage.” “This corner —” “When Stephon was murdered, we only had the officers’ footage. We only had their point of view.” “Hey, show your hands.” “You know, when my son was killed being on the platform, there was several bystanders that filmed. And had it not been for the cameras, we wouldn’t even be here today because they would have probably said it was justified.” “Bro, with your feet on his head, man. You knee on his neck.” “He’s pushing harder.” “Yeah.” “I cannot breathe.” “A little bit more. Right here.” “I don’t watch the footage of my dad’s incident because it’s torture.” “You see the officers giving a trove of blows to his body?” “Yes.” “To his arms, to his torso, to his legs.” “Here it is 30 years later, nothing has changed.” “Now who are you going to believe? The defendants or your own eyes?” “I am watching the George Floyd case with my best friend, Tiffany, at her home.” “Oh my gosh.” “Wow.” “And he’s still on his neck.” “Today was the first time I watched the entire video of George Floyd, and it definitely made me think about my dad begging for his life screaming.” “Check his pulse. Check his pulse.” “His daughter was the same age I was when my dad was beaten.” “My name is Lora Dene King. I’m the middle child of Rodney Glen King.” “The world saw the videotape.” “We thought the video showed excessive force and unnecessary force.” “With that videotape, if they had two eyes and they weren’t blind, you could see that it was excessive force.” “The defense tried to dilute the impact of the tape by dissecting it, frame by frame, in an effort to show that King was a threat to the officers.” “He kind of gave out like a bear-like yell, like a wounded animal. If he had grabbed my officer, it would have been a death grip. If he had grabbed the weapon, he would have had numerous targets.” “He didn’t grab anybody during these events, did he?” “No sir, he did not.” “He couldn’t walk. He had 50 broken bones. His skull was permanently fractured. He had permanent brain damage. My dad was never the same after that. You know, and everybody just considered him to be normal. I think if that happened to anybody, they wouldn’t be normal ever again.” “This doesn’t just affect the person it happened to. It also affects all those people who are out there watching it. They’re all affected forever.” “I was desperate to help.” “I was just kind of emotional, and I went to the African-American that was standing there on the curb. And I was just like, they’re not going to help them.” “Oh my God.” “This man, he witnessed another African-American man getting his life taken. The nine-year-old speaker on the trial.” “Good morning, [inaudible].” “Good morning.” “Which one is you?” “Just so happened to be walking down the street. She will never forget that for the rest of her life.” “You ultimately ended up posting your video to social media, right?” “Correct.” “And it went viral?” “Correct.” “It changed your life, right?” “The girl who filmed George Floyd, the fact that there was nothing she can do to save his life.” “It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more.” “That’s something that will haunt her like George Holliday, who captured my dad’s video.” “Without George Holliday, these four officers might not be on trial.” “He just wanted to test this new camera he had. Like, oh let me take — he stood there shaking, terrified. And he still suffers to this day because that was the right thing to do.” “What could he have done to deserve that?” “If I was to see George Floyd’s daughter today, I wish there was something I can say. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. Because I’m sure she’s watched that videotape. And that’s something that carries in your mental every everyday, just like my dad’s video tape.” “For the jury, a difficult decision ahead, knowing that to acquit the four officers could ignite this city.” “Not guilty of —” Chanting: “No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.” “And damage to the city of Los Angeles running into billions of dollars.” “That’s what I’m saying. The police, they don’t pay a cent for this trial. So my mother and I, we was watching the George Floyd’s trial. And it brought back so many memories of my son Oscar’s case. Oscar’s last picture in his cellphone was of the officer who shot him.” “My name is Wanda Johnson. I’m the mother of Oscar Grant.” “Grant was shot once in the back as he lay face down on the train station’s platform.” “He was unarmed.” “The 27-year-old officer has said he thought he had drawn his Taser gun —” “— but accidentally pulled out his handgun instead.” “And the incident was captured on cellphone video.” “Video speaks for themselves. And the jury will see that and make the correct decision.” “We knew that we would have a very hard time winning in the court systems because the judicial system was not made for everyone in the society.” “As the situation went on, the crowd began to grow and grow.” “Oh my goodness, the same playbook that they used for what happened with Oscar, they used the same thing for George Floyd. Oh, there was a crowd of angry mob people.” “They were behind them. There were people across the street, people yelling.” “We don’t know if they were going to attack us. I thought about the young man testifying in George Floyd’s case.” “You grew angrier and angrier.” “Calling the police on the police.” “911, what’s the address of the emergency?” “How do you have somebody investigate those that they work with? Of course you’re going to find that they’re going to believe the people that they work with quicker than they will believe the citizens who are filing the complaint.” “Would you like to speak with those sergeants?” “Yeah, I’d like to. He was unresponsive. He wasn’t resisting arrest or any of this.” “OK, one second.” “Murderers, bro. Y’all are just murderers, bro.” “You know, when we was going to jury trial for Oscar, they would ask questions like, ‘Do you know anybody who went to jail? Do you know anybody who had an encounter with the police?’ And as soon as the person said that, they would strike them from being a juror, right? Having a jury that consists of different backgrounds, it could help with the decision-making of innocent or guilty.” “The 27-year-old officer —” “— pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.” “His trial had been moved to Los Angeles over concerns of racial tension and intense media scrutiny.” “Everybody, let’s just pray for one minute.” “Father God, we come to you and your son named Jesus Christ. Father, we ask the people that see this —” “Every time I come to my mom’s house, I’m reminded that my son was killed here.” “My name is Sequette Clark. I’m the mother of Stephon Clark.” “22-year-old Stephon Clark was fatally shot while running from police.” “Clark was see evading authorities after allegedly smashing a car window.” “He was shot eight times in his grandmother’s backyard.” “Police apparently thinking he was holding a gun, now say it was a cellphone.” “Out of fear for their own lives, they fired their service weapon.” “And following the incident, officers manually muted their body cameras at times.” “Move over this way.” “As we watched the George Floyd trial, I invited particular members of my family because you can’t address something in the community or the city or the nation until you address it at home with the family.” “When Mr. Floyd was in distress, Mr. Chauvin wouldn’t help him, didn’t help him.” “So that’s just how they left my boy out there. They handcuffed him after he was dead.” “Excessive force.” “Excessive force and lethal force after the fact of death. I felt saddened, heavy, drained. I felt as if I was a slave 400 years ago. Just hearing how he was dead, seeing how he was dead. And then to turn around and hear the defense’s attempt to bring up the fact that we should not focus on the —” “— 9 minutes and 29 seconds —” “— that it took to kill George Floyd. But we should focus on what went on ahead of that. Anything that does not deal directly with the murder of George Floyd is irrelevant in my opinion.” “He’s 6 to 6 and a half feet tall. You did not know that he had taken heroin. Mr. Floyd did use a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Mr. Floyd put drugs in his mouth.” “Poppa’s already dead. George Floyd is already dead.” “That’s right. That’s right.” “So now you’re resurrecting him just to kill him all over again.” “Basically.” “Defame him in order to justify the wrongdoing of your officers, reminded me exactly of what the district attorney did to Stephon.” “The cellphone examination revealed a domestic violence incident that happened with the mother of his children. Texts and phone calls showing that he was seeking drugs and a photograph of his hand holding 10 Xanax pills.” “What was on his cellphone has zero to do with the actions of the police officers at the time of his homicide. I feel like it’s a bittersweet thing that’s happening watching the George Floyd trial. Because I’m optimistic that this is a piece of justice for the death of my son.” “We might not be here. They’re going to get him. They’re going to get him.” “Was a crime committed? The answer to that question is no. And as a result, we will not charge these officers with any criminal liability related to the shooting death or the use of force of Stephon Clark.” “April 14, 1991: King fights emotional and physical scars. So this is basically a photo album book of my dad’s newspaper articles since he’s been in the news. Years and years and years. You throw someone to the wolves and you expect them to be normal. You know, there’s no such thing as normal after that. And then, can you imagine how many Rodney Kings there is that never got videotaped? There’s plenty of them.” “I would have prayed and hoped that Oscar’s trial would have been televised because America has to really look in the mirror and say, ‘Are all people being treated equally?’” “There was excessive use of force against George Floyd —” “We’re not focused on the videotape, his toxicology, his heart condition. We’re focused on the fact that several people witnessed this man get murdered.” “You can see it with our own eyes. It’s crazy.” “People don’t realize what it does to your family. It’s bigger than just a trial and this officer. We never get to see them again. We never get to smell them again and kiss them again. Our lives are completely affected forever.”

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The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing. But cycles of protests over systemic racism and policing are not new. We watched the trial with the families of Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Stephon Clark to see this moment in history through their eyes.

After the guilty verdict was announced Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Boykin and others on social media recirculated the police department’s initial account of events. To many, it was further reason not to place full trust in the narratives offered by police officials, and underscored the need for independent video of police actions.

“Seriously, read it again knowing what we know,” Jake Tapper, the CNN host, wrote on Twitter.

The initial news release, posted on the police department’s website, is titled “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.” It said Mr. Floyd, who was not identified by name, “physically resisted officers” on the scene who had ordered him out of his vehicle. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress,” the release said.

The officers called for an ambulance and Mr. Floyd was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died, it said.

Then, in a separate one-sentence paragraph, the department said, “At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.”

State officials were investigating the episode and body cameras had been activated, the release said. It also noted, “No officers were injured in the incident.”

Ms. Frazier’s video helped shatter that narrative, and showed Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

Police officials from major cities across the country, who usually support each other especially in times of crises, welcomed the verdict against a former member of their ranks.

Commissioner Dermot Shea of the New York Police Department, by far the largest in the country, said on Twitter, “Justice has been served.” Superintendent Shaun Ferguson of the New Orleans Police Department said the verdict “is justice delivered.”

Chief Troy Finner of the Houston Police Department said, “Sometimes justice takes a little while, but it’s going to get there.” He added, “If there is anybody in the city who wants to celebrate, we are going to be there with you.” But, he said, “Do it the right way.”

In Seattle, the police department said, “Mr. Floyd’s murder was a watershed moment for this country” and added: “From that pain, though, real change has begun.”

And in Oakland, Calif., the police department called for people to be “compassionate, empathic, and forgiving.” It also said, “Together we will work towards rethinking policing in America.”

Last year, Ray Kelly, who retired in 2013 after serving 12 years as the New York City police commissioner, told The Wall Street Journal, “This is the worst act of police brutality that I’ve seen.”

April 20, 2021, 6:41 p.m. ET

April 20, 2021, 6:41 p.m. ET

A screen in Times Square showing the reaction in Minnesota after the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd.
Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Every major broadcast and cable news network — and even ESPN — broke into regular programming on Tuesday for live coverage of the verdict, ensuring that millions of Americans watched in unison as a Minnesota jury found the former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the death of George Floyd.

“Justice has been served,” the CNN anchor Don Lemon declared on-air shortly after the verdict, speaking alongside footage of people celebrating — and some crying in relief — outside the Minneapolis courthouse.

Mr. Lemon continued: “I’m sure people who are watching all over this country, watching all over the world, are on their devices getting messages from people, as I am, saying: ‘Thank you, Jesus, thank God. Finally, finally — justice on all counts.’”

That sense of relief was echoed by analysts on several networks, including NBC News, where the political analyst Eugene Robinson told viewers that he had “exhaled for the first time in more than an hour” after learning of the verdict.

“One of my first thoughts was, you know, it shouldn’t have been this hard, right?” Mr. Robinson said. “We haven’t reached our destination on the racial reckoning that we need to have in this country. But I think this will be seen as a step forward, as opposed to what it potentially could have been seen as, which would have been a giant step back.”

On Fox News, the anchor Jeanine Pirro, a former New York State judge, said immediately after the jury found Mr. Chauvin guilty: “Make no mistake, the facts are solid on this verdict. This verdict will be upheld on appeal.” She took pains to frame the outcome of the trial as a sign “that the American justice system works.”

Fox News covered the news on its usual 5 p.m. talk show, “The Five,” where the co-host Juan Williams called the day “very emotional.”

“It would have been so upsetting, it would have been a kick in the stomach,” he told viewers, “if in this most extreme situation, where everybody can see what happened, if the jury had somehow said, ‘Let’s split the verdict.’”

His co-host Greg Gutfeld offered a more disjointed take, claiming it was a “myth” that the trial had divided the nation and saying he was satisfied with the verdict because it might prevent what he characterized as violent protests.

“I’m glad that he was found guilty on all charges, even if he might not be guilty of all charges,” Mr. Gutfeld said.

He was quickly interrupted by Ms. Pirro, who had been muttering in disapproving tones as Mr. Gutfeld was speaking. Ms. Pirro scolded Mr. Gutfeld for his views, saying the verdict was a result of clear facts presented by prosecutors. “That courtroom is a place where the evidence is brought in and it is pristine in the way it’s handled,” she said.

At 8 p.m., Tucker Carlson opened his highly rated Fox News show by questioning how the jury had reached its verdict and blasting the Black Lives Matter movement.

“So we must stop this current insanity,” he said. “It’s an attack on civilization. At stake is far more than the future of Derek Chauvin or the memory of George Floyd. At stake is America.” He continued: “So before we consider the details of today’s verdict, a bigger question. One we should all think about: Can we trust the way this decision was made?”

His first guest, The New York Post columnist Miranda Devine, who described President Trump as “an invincible hero” in an October column, claimed there was an “enormous amount of pressure” on the jury. As she spoke, a caption appeared onscreen: “BLATANT INTIMIDATION DURING DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL.”

April 20, 2021, 5:40 p.m. ET

April 20, 2021, 5:40 p.m. ET

Women embraced outside the Hennepin County Government Center after the guilty verdicts were announced.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin found him guilty on all three charges he faced: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

How much prison time Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, will have to serve will not be decided until several weeks from now, after a pre-sentencing report about Mr. Chauvin’s background is produced. Judge Peter A. Cahill will also have to determine whether there were special circumstances of the crime that would justify a lengthier sentence than the prison terms laid out by Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines.

Because Mr. Chauvin has no criminal history, the sentencing guidelines for each of the murder charges is 12.5 years. But the maximum sentences for each charge differ: Second-degree murder could mean as long as 40 years in prison, while the maximum for third-degree murder is 25 years.

Mr. Chauvin is also charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, but under the guidelines he would most likely be sentenced to four years.

Before Mr. Chauvin was convicted, the state asked for a lengthier sentence should he be convicted of any of the charges — what is known as an “upward sentencing departure” — citing aggravating factors including, the state has said in court filings, that the killing of Mr. Floyd happened in the presence of children, that Mr. Floyd was treated with “particular cruelty” by Mr. Chauvin, and that Mr. Chauvin, as a police officer, “abused his position of authority.”

Mr. Chauvin had the option of having the jury rule on the aggravating factors or putting it in the hands of Judge Cahill. At the end of closing arguments on Monday, Mr. Chauvin waived his right to have the jury decide, putting the decision on sentencing solely in the hands of Judge Cahill.

April 19, 2021, 9:03 a.m. ET

April 19, 2021, 9:03 a.m. ET







‘He Was Suffering’: Teenager Who Filmed Floyd’s Arrest Testifies at Trial

Darnella Frazier, who was 17 years old when she filmed video of George Floyd’s arrest, testified during the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Mr. Floyd’s death.

“And is this as you are approaching Cup Foods on May 25?” “Yes.” “Now see, there, your cousin goes into the store. Why did she go into the store, and then you turned around and then came back toward the squad cars?” “I wanted to make sure she got in.” [inaudible] “When you walk past the squad car there, did you see anything happening there on the ground as you were walking towards Cup Foods with your cousin?” “Yes, I see a man on the ground and I see a cop kneeling down on him.” “Was there anything about the scene that you didn’t want your cousin to see?” “Yes” “And what was that?” “A man terrified, scared, begging for his life.” “Is that why you directed your cousin to going into Cup Foods?” “Yes.” “And, and then when you saw what was happening there, at the scene, what was it about the scene that caused you to come back?” “He wasn’t right. He was he was suffering. He was in pain.” “So tell the jury what you observed, what you heard when you stopped to look at what was happening there at the scene.” “I heard George Floyd saying, ‘I can’t breathe. Please get off of me. I can’t breathe.’ He he cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew. It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified.”

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Darnella Frazier, who was 17 years old when she filmed video of George Floyd’s arrest, testified during the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Mr. Floyd’s death.CreditCredit…Still image via Court TV

In the three weeks of the trial of Derek Chauvin, dozens of witnesses have testified; hours of video of George Floyd’s arrest have been played, paused and replayed; and two sides of the courtroom have presented opposing narratives to a jury tasked with determining the guilt or innocence of a former police officer charged with murder in one of the most watched trials in decades.

Through witness testimony, several distinct themes have emerged as the most crucial points of contention: whether Mr. Chauvin violated policy when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes; what role, if any, drugs played in Mr. Floyd’s death; and what kind of impact the arrest may have had on the people who witnessed it.