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Chauvin Guilty on All Counts in Killing of George Floyd; Floyd Family: Verdict Is a Sign of Hope. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 21, 2021 - 02:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Victor Blackwell and this is CNN NEWSROOM. We're following reaction to the guilty verdict on all three counts against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The crowds have been gathering throughout the night outside the convenience store where Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. The actions that the jury decided and many people around the world agreed were murder.

Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison for the most serious charge against him, although Minnesota state guidelines are a bit more lenient. Prosecutors have asked for a tougher sentence. Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks.


JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY: We, the jury, in the above entitled manner, as to count one, unintentional second degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty. This verdict agreed to this 20th day of April, 2021, at 1:44 pm, signed by jury foreperson, Juror Number 19.

Same caption, verdict count two, We, the jury, in the above entitled manner, as to count two, third-degree murder perpetrating an imminently dangerous act, find the defendant guilty. This verdict agreed to this 20th day of April, 2021, at 1:45 pm, signed by jury foreperson, Juror Number 19.

Same caption, verdict count three. We, the jury, in the above entitled manner, as to count three, second degree manslaughter, culpable negligence creating an unreasonable risk, find the defendant guilty. This verdict agreed to this 20th day of April, 2021, at 1:45 pm



BLACKWELL (voice-over): That was the crowd outside the courthouse when the verdicts were announced. A lot of people, including George Floyd's family, President Biden said the guilty verdicts were important but only the first step toward racial justice and police accountability.

Chauvin was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs and was later transferred to the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights.


BLACKWELL: Let's head straight to Minneapolis now. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is there.

Adrienne, this is a moment that so many people there in Minneapolis, physically outside of the courthouse, were waiting for. What's it like there now?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's quiet. It's peaceful. It's calm. People are breathing a sigh of relief tonight. Some telling us, finally, I can sleep.

I want you to take a look at what will be the front page of the "Star Tribune" today on Wednesday, the 21st of this month, the big headline in bold says "Convicted." And that's a headline some said they hoped they would see but honestly they didn't think it would happen.

Why didn't they think it would not happen?

Because of history, because they've never seen it before. A short time ago, I spoke with members from George Floyd's family. We call him George Floyd. They called him by his middle name, Perry. I spoke with his cousin from South Carolina and his aunt, Angela, who lives here. Listen in to part of that conversation.


ANGELA HARRELLSON, GEORGE FLOYD'S AUNT: Well, just being here, seeing all this stuff and the storm and everything, it really don't surprise me that much with police cover-ups, because they always have done that, especially towards Black and Brown people.

The sad thing is that, if it wasn't been for that 17-year-old girl, Darnella, it would have been another Black man that was killed by the police, his own fault and they would have said, oh, it was drugs, oh, it was this. And we would never have the story. We wouldn't be here today talking.

That's the sad thing about it, that, you know, that it took that because the police would have covered up. The wonderful thing about it that she did do it, that girl was brave. She stood there and she held that phone.

BROADDUS: And that day she went to Cup Foods, her 9-year-old cousin had been saying big cousin, please take me to get some Starbursts all day.


BROADDUS: So finally she said OK, let's go. And then you know what they saw.

What do you make of that timing as people of faith?


Not a coincidence?

PARIS STEVENS, GEORGE FLOYD'S COUSIN: Not a coincidence. Most times situations are not a coincidence. People are placed for a reason. And I truly believe that. She was meant to be there.


BROADDUS: And they are talking about Darnella Fraser. About a month after Floyd's death, I spoke with her 9-year-old cousin, Judea Reynolds. You might remember, she testified during the first week of the trial.

And when we talked, Judea told me, I'm so happy my big cousin took me to the store. And she told me about asking to go all day but timing. A 9-year old realized that timing was critical. And I asked her why.

And she said if we didn't go when we went, we wouldn't have the video and they would keep killing us.

And I said, who is they?

And she said police.

So through the eyes of that 9-year old, she already knew the power of that video. Victor?

BLACKWELL: It's tragic that she had to -- anyone had to witness that.

But I think she is right. The power of that video, especially when you compare it to the press release that came from the department, would we be having this conversation about that verdict?

Adrienne Broaddus for us in Minneapolis, thank you so much.

Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and retired police chief, Roberto Villasenor. He is with us from Tucson, Arizona.

And civil rights leader Rashad Robinson, activist, president of Color of Change. Lots of titles for Rashad, joining us from New York.

Let's start here with you, Rashad.

Is this the verdict you expected and your reaction to it?

RASHAD ROBINSON, COLOR OF CHANGE: This was the verdict that we hoped for when the jury came back so quickly. We were expecting some level of conviction. I mean, I think this is important. I think accountability is incredibly important.

And now we have to continue to build on the momentum that the movement has created. We would not be here without a sustained movement. Keith Ellison would have never have had the case without the pressure.

So now we end up in a position where we have to push for the type of deep systemic change because 12 people in a jury can't deliver justice. It's going to be millions of people all around the country that are going to have to work to change the rules that incentivized this type of behavior from police and allow it to happen over and over.

BLACKWELL: I want to pull that thread from you and I notice that you are making a distinction between accountability and justice, which some people are conflating on this day. But I want to get the first take from Roberto.

Roberto, is this the verdict you expected and your reaction to it?

ROBERTO VILLASENOR, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I clearly think that it is the appropriate verdict. I have seen enough trials go different ways, that I thought were slam-dunks, that I never take anything for granted. So I was very relieved when I heard the verdict. But in my mind, there could not have been any other verdict that was true.

BLACKWELL: So, Rashad, on that distinction between accountability and justice, we heard the president say justice was served for George Floyd. People saying that justice now has been served in this case. For you, the distinction between the accountability for the officer and his actions and justice.

ROBINSON: Well, nothing will bring back George Floyd to his family. And it's important that Derek Chauvin has a deep level of accountability. But we have to just really recognize all of the things that had to happen to get us here.

We had to have video. We had to have sustained pressure. We had to overcome all of the sort of dirty tricks and misdirection and disinformation that this police department put in place and police departments all around the country. It is part of their playbook.

And so, you know, what I want folks to recognize is that justice happens when we actually have a system and structures that deliver it, not that we have to do all of these extra hoops just to get a level of accountability that should be expected out of systems that we pay into with our tax dollars.

So to the extent that the work ahead is going to be about systemic change, it's going to be about dealing with the budgets of police departments. It's going to be about dealing with qualified immunity. It's going to be about holding those who take money from police unions but say they are working for systemic change accountable.

It's going to be about a host of things that are going to be really tough and much deeper.


ROBINSON: And far too many forces right now stand in the way of true systemic change, would like us to all believe that justice was served today or yesterday. And we can go back to doing what we were doing before.

But we should make no mistake that even today, Black people are being killed by police. Police are making up stories. The system is incentivizing them to do it. And the system is actually set up in such a way where they are likely to get off.

And that is unacceptable and it should be unacceptable to all of us. So that has to be the legacy of this work and the legacy of so many people over the summer, showing up, multiracial coalitions demanding for something. We got the first step. Now we've got keep going.

BLACKWELL: Chief, how does this reverberate in departments or is it, departments, police departments, across the country, do they see this as an anomaly, because the act was so egregious and caught on camera and we watched 9:29 of an officer kneeling on man?

Or is this a reaction to the other officers testifying against Derek Chauvin?

How do you think this is being received in those departments?

VILLASENOR: I think that police across the country, for the past decade or longer, have been seeing case after case of this type coming up in the media. And I think they understand there is this viewpoint out there but not all police departments are corrupt. Not all officers are corrupt. There is a lot of good officers doing good work out there.

The unfortunate part is you don't hear about that. You hear about these egregious cases and you should hear about them. It's part of the way we're going to bring accountability and balance.

But it's not the way every police interaction goes. That's just not true. But what officers are hopefully seeing from this is there are levels of accountability. And there needs to be levels of accountability. It needs to start with the smaller things.

This is such an egregious case. As you pointed out, I don't think anyone is surprised at the outcome. But what is more important is the smaller events, the rudeness complaints, the use of force complaints.

Those we need to hold ourselves accountable for because we need to make sure that we're doing things the correct way, the issue of intervening if you see something going wrong is extremely important.

BLACKWELL: All right, Chief, stay with us.

Rashad as well. Yes, we have a lot more to talk about. I want to talk more about the culture versus the policy.

I know, Chief, you are working with the departments across the country, some of the changes they're making.

And Rashad, with you, what should those people who went to their first rally over the summer of 2020, who saw this video who wanted change, now that they've got the verdict, what should they do now, from your perspective?

We've got a lot more to discuss, including the growing demands for police reform and why this verdict is so rare. Stay with us. More to come.


COURTENEY ROSS, GEORGE FLOYD'S GIRLFRIEND: This is a huge day for the world.


ROSS: We're finally starting to see, you know. We walked around with eyes wide shut for a long time. So they're starting to open today. And this is going to be the first in a future of change. I promise you that.






BLACKWELL: Guilty on all counts. We continue our coverage of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

We saw and heard the cheers in Minneapolis and, really, across the country, as the former police officer was convicted of the murder of George Floyd. It was almost one year ago that most of us, for the first time, saw that video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

In a statement, attorney Ben Crump and the Floyd family said, "Painfully earned justice has arrived."

President Joe Biden spoke with the Floyd family by phone. He acknowledged that nothing can ever bring George Floyd back but he called out -- the outcome, rather -- a giant step forward in the march towards justice.

In a televised address a few hours later, the president called systemic racism "a stain on the country's soul." Phil Mattingly reports now from Washington.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Victor, President Biden watched the verdict read aloud in his private dining room with the vice president, with his senior staff.

One person in the room told me, when all three charges were read, when the three guilty charges were read out, there was a collective exhale. Those were the words used. But also a collective recognition shortly thereafter of just how much work there is left to do. It's something the president delved deeply into in his stirring

remarks in the wake of those verdicts to the country. Take a listen.


BIDEN: "I can't breathe." Those were George Floyd's last words. We can't let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. We can't turn away. We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country. It's my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy.


MATTINGLY: At a primary piece of that push from President Biden, the next steps forward in the wake of this verdict, in the wake of the death of George Floyd and in the justice the president sees in those verdicts is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It is a police reform bill already passed by House Democrats.

Currently it does not have a path forward in the U.S. Senate. The president making clear, the vice president making clear as well, that is something they plan to redouble their efforts to get through the United States Senate, saying it is a piece of George Floyd's legacy.

The president's remarks, the vice president's remarks as well, were so much bigger than just sort of the legislative back and forth, technical details of where policy stands and more just a look at the country as a whole. The president, I'm told, has regularly referred to the death of George Floyd, the video, those nine-plus minutes as an inflection point, as a moment where people, not just Black people who have been dealing with this for their entire lives, not just Brown people who have felt the same.


MATTINGLY: But all people, as the president framed it, had the blinders ripped off to the reality. That moment and what has happened since hasn't solved any of the problems necessarily.

But what the president framed it as is the possibility for a large step forward, a moment for the country to recognize and perhaps do something about what the president and the vice president alike referred to a very significant systemic racism problem in the country.

Whether or not that actually occurs, obviously still a lot of work to be done. A very open question but the president making clear in the wake of these verdicts, in the wake of the guilty charges, that is the steps that he wants to pursue. That is the way he believes his administration and the country as a whole should head -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Phil Mattingly there for us outside the White House. Thanks very much.

Let's bring back law enforcement analyst Roberto Villasenor. We're trying to get Rashad Robinson back. I had a bit of a technical issue with his camera. Chief, let's continue with this conversation.

You work with, have worked with departments across the country; I'm sure still tied in to the law enforcement community and making changes in some of these departments.

What changes are they considering?

Which should they make?

VILLASENOR: Well, I was saying earlier, there have been a lot of events across the country that have brought up issues that departments need to look at.

And what most departments need to look at are the use of force policies, their internal affairs policy, their reviews of how they conduct their practices, because you can have a policy but if you don't go in and audit how your people are performing, you know, practice these policies, (INAUDIBLE) the same.

And if your people are not doing what your policy says and if your supervisors are not out there watching what's going on and conducting audits of their personnel's actions and performance, correcting when necessary and disciplining when necessary, then those policies really come to naught.

BLACKWELL: We've got Rashad back here.

In the discussion of policy versus culture, listen, in every job, especially when you work for a big corporation or a large department, you get, you know, the rules, the policies.

And it's far more crucial when you're dealing with first responders and law enforcement, because it can be a matter of life and death. But if those are ingrained, innate, that speaks to culture.

So is this a cultural change that needs to be made or is it simply policy?

I think I know where you're going with this, Rashad, but let me hear from you.

ROBINSON: Yes, I think it's a mix of both. It's policy and it's practice. Here is the thing. Many in law enforcement want to make us kind of believe that this is something new and that police departments just need to look at these things.

They've actually had decades to look at these things. Now that we have videos, I mean, they've had more than decades. Hundreds of years to look at these things. The fact of the matter is we are here right now because there was video and there was sustained protest.

In 2015 there was a report from the FBI that actually talked about the rise of white nationalists inside of police departments. And we hear not a peep from police departments or police unions about this. I sat in a meeting in the White House in 2016 with President Obama and

people from law enforcement and civil rights and the head of the Fraternal Order of Police said that all of this talk of racial profiling is new to him, not that he agreed with policies but gaslit us on the ideas that racial profiling even exists.

We've watched in Chicago the police union march on the district attorney, who was trying to prosecute -- stop prosecuting low-level fines, low level crimes that we felt like were poverty crimes. She was elected to do that.

They marched on her office, their constitutional right. But they did it four white nationalist groups, including the Proud Boys. And then they stood in front of Kim Fox's office according to the "Chicago Sun- Times," stood in front of her office, the first Black woman state's attorney in Chicago, took her picture out and rubbed it on their crotches.

And then the next day they put on their badges and their uniforms and their guns and they get to so-called protect and serve us. This is a cultural problem and it's a policy issue.

And we have to not only deal with the fact that police have proven themselves to not be able to police themselves but that we have put money and resources and militarized equipment inside of structures that simply are not designed to produce safety and justice.

The police have had years to actually fix this since viral videos have been out there. They've had years to have policies on the place and they failed at every single turn at our expense.


BLACKWELL: It's been 30 years since the Rodney King video, right. That was 1991, when we first saw that video. So, yes, we have seen video. This is not the first time.


BLACKWELL: And we know what happened in that case.

Is this, Chief -- and I've got to wrap soon but I'll give you each 30 seconds.

Is this a new day or is this just one day?

Chief, first to you.

VILLASENOR: I'm hoping that this is a new day, that this is a place where we can build from. This is a place where we can move forward from. I think that a lot of the things that Rashad was talking about, is there has to be more transparency in what police do.

And police need to be willing to say that we messed up here. We can fix this. We can do better. And we can hold ourselves accountable.


ROBINSON: I believe this is absolutely a new day. Racial justice became a majoritarian (sic) issue last summer, when many people thought the best we could do is uplift investigative journalism or clap outside of our windows.

Multiracial coalitions of people took to the streets and raised their voices. Now it's time we translate that energy into true systemic change, dealing with police budgets, ending qualified immunity, dealing with the outsized power of police unions and working to pass things like the George Floyd Act.

All of it is possible but we need everyday people. We will lose in the back rooms if we don't have you lined up at the front doors.

BLACKWELL: Rashad Robinson, Roberto Villasenor, thank you both.

Derek Chauvin is now awaiting sentencing after being found guilty on all counts. We're going talk about how much prison time he could face and what the impact of the verdicts could have on the trial of his now former colleagues.


BIDEN: The knee on the neck and justice for Black Americans. Profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.






BLACKWELL: Former police officer Derek Chauvin will wake up in jail today. A jury found him guilty on all counts for killing George Floyd.


JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY: We, the jury, in the above entitled manner, as to count one, unintentional second degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty.

We, the jury, in the above entitled manner, as to count two, third degree murder perpetrating an imminently dangerous act, guilty.

We, the jury, in the above entitled manner, as to count three, second degree manslaughter, culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk, find the defendant guilty.


BLACKWELL: And then seconds later, Chauvin was put in handcuffs and led out of the courtroom there in Minneapolis.

Now while that was happening inside, George Floyd supporters were celebrating outside that courthouse.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): There was celebration in Minneapolis, across the country after the jury's verdict was read. The decision validated what so many people believed, that Chauvin was responsible for Floyd's death after kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes.


BLACKWELL: And yet there was a possibility here that he could have gotten away with it. Because remember, this case started as the police described it, a health incident. A statement they initially put out in May of last year said that George Floyd appeared to be suffering medical distress and officers called for an ambulance and he died a short time after being brought to the hospital. That's it.

It took cell phone video from a teenager, Darnella Fraser, to refute that statement and document what really happened that day. Her video is disturbing to watch but here's what she recorded.



GEORGE FLOYD, POLICE MURDER VICTIM: I can't breathe. Please, the knee on my neck, I can't breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, get up, get in the car, man.

G. FLOYD: I will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and get in the car.

G. FLOYD: I can't move. Aah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and get in the car. Get up and get in the car right.

G. FLOYD: I can't.


BLACKWELL: Would there be a guilty verdict without that video?

Would there have been charges without it?

So many people are praising Fraser for having the courage to record, for the rest of the world to see, including President Joe Biden.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors, a brave young woman with a smartphone camera, a crowd that was traumatized, traumatized witnesses, a murder that lasts almost 10 minutes in broad daylight.


BLACKWELL: After the verdict, Darnella Fraser sent out this tweet. Here is part of it.

"George Floyd, we did it. Justice has been served."

But it's painfully earned justice for the Floyd family. Their brother, their father, a man they loved is dead and their lives are changed forever.

Former U.S. attorney and host of the "Talking Feds" podcast, Harry Litman is with us now from San Diego.

And retired San Diego police sergeant Cheryl Dorsey is with us from L.A. as well. She is the author of "Black and Blue: The Creation of a Social Advocate."

Welcome to both of you.

Sergeant, I want to start with you, as I have and will with all the guests tonight and over the next hour.

Is this the verdict you expected?

And what's your reaction to it?

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT: To be honest with you, I was very surprised, pleasantly. I was not expecting.


DORSEY: I really thought this might be a hung jury. I thought they only needed to hang up one of those jurors given all of the distractions and subterfuge that was put forth by the defense. But now Minneapolis has a problem on their hands, because Derek Chauvin is a demonstrated and proven liar.

We knew this to be true. We heard him minimize and mitigate what he had done to Derek Chauvin (sic) and how he reported that to his supervisor. And so for me, the question that begs to be answered now is, how many other Black men have been incarcerated, have been injured over his 19-year career?

After all, he did have 18 personnel complaints under his belt before he murdered George Floyd.

BLACKWELL: Let me come back to that distinction of Derek Chauvin being a liar. But I want to get the first take from Harry.

Verdict you expected?

And your reaction to it.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is the verdict I expected. You know, it happens sometimes. I worked on the federal retrial on the Rodney King case, where the evidence was strong. I understand the sort of systemic problems pushing against bringing cases like this in the first place, as you were just saying, Victor.

But for the video, you never have this case. But once you did have the video and we saw the way the prosecution handled it and especially once you heard how quickly the jury was returning, yes, I expected convictions on all counts.

BLACKWELL: Sergeant Dorsey, you say that Derek Chauvin a proven liar but he didn't write the press release. Somebody else did that. And there were three other officer there as well who did not refute what the line from the Minneapolis Police Department was.

So how do you get at the cultural elements that appear to be here?

And from what I understand from our conversations in the past, because we've been at this intersection too many times, is that departments across the country.

How do you get that element?

DORSEY: Well, listen, the press release and everything that was purported came directly from Chauvin. We heard him on the radio tell the supervisor on scene, yes, this guy was out of control. He was acting crazy. We had to hold him down.

He didn't mention any of that stuff about the man was already in handcuffs. He didn't mention the fact that he had sat on his neck for over nine minutes and all of those other officers that were there stood by and acquiesced this misconduct.

So this is not anything new. He did it too easily. He sat there and made us watch him as he committed murder on television of this man. So this is not anything new. He had 18 personnel complaints. Officer Towle (ph), who stood sentry, also was also the subject of civil litigation that resulted in a $25,000 settlement. So for the police chief to get on the stand and speak truthfully, I appreciate it. But I believe he is being intellectually dishonest when he asserts, somehow, that this is the first time he got wind of Derek Chauvin.

Everyone admitted under oath, I know him. I've worked with him for a long time. They had to know or they should have known about his history and his proclivity to do the things that we saw him do on video.

BLACKWELL: We know that the jury was not allowed to hear some of the tales of his past as an officer during the trial.

Harry, let me come to you. Sentencing happens in eight weeks. Chauvin could face up to 40 years for second degree murder, up to 25 years for third degree murder, up to 10 years for manslaughter and then there is also the aggravating factors here, potentially to go beyond the typical guidance.

What's your expectation?

And how does this work, do you expect, over the next several weeks as we get to that point?

LITMAN: Really important to adjust expectations. What you're talking about is what the statute provides as maximums. But Minnesota is a guideline state, like the federal system.

So what you're looking at basically, the down the middle sentence for what he did for all of them together, is about 12.5 years.

Now the aggravating factors are a different ball of wax. And if the judge finds them -- and there are few that look pretty strong, like Floyd was a particularly vulnerable victim, that pushes it somewhat. But people shouldn't be expecting 40 years here. They should be expecting 13, 14, 15. And that's what I expect.


Sergeant, your book is "The Creation of a Social Advocate." So for the crowds we see here and the ones we watched over the months of 2020, in cities really across the world but here in the U.S., what should they be doing, for those people who went to their first rally, for their first protest after watching this video, if they want change?

What do you think they should do?

DORSEY: We have to keep the pressure.


DORSEY: We have to keep up the pressure. There are still families that are waiting in the wings for this same kind of justice and accountability, Ahmaud Arbery.


DORSEY: Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Mubarak Soulemane in Connecticut. So while this is a great first step, it's a small step. And we're yet to see what the sentence is going to look like as well. So there is much work to be done.

The problem is cultural. It's systemic. It's top down. That means chief of police down through the ranks. So we have to stay vigilant and we have to be determined to get justice for everyone who is so deserving.

BLACKWELL: Harry, three officers still will have to face trials scheduled in August.

What does this portend for those cases?

You expect they're trying now to craft a deal? LITMAN: Yes, I would think so, although it's a great question, because the prosecution did a terrific job of isolating Chauvin. And this goes to what Cheryl said. I totally agree about the systemic problem.

But it's pretty significant here that the entire force was coalesced against him and made clear that Chauvin was a rogue and an outlaw here. That's a significant cultural development that -- I tried a lot of these excessive force cases. You don't normally see it. That's a real step forward.

These three, on the one hand, it was portrayed as he, acting more -- most -- as the most culpable. On the other, as you say, I wouldn't want to be facing trial in these circumstances. It will depend a little on what the state is willing to do. But, yes, I expect they're going into the office tomorrow and saying, let's make a deal.

BLACKWELL: All right. Harry, Sergeant Dorsey, thank you both for your time.

LITMAN: Thanks.

Thanks to the sergeant.

BLACKWELL: An emotional moment for George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, as he wiped tears as he described the relief that he felt at officer Derek Chauvin's guilty verdicts. We're going to hear what he said, next.





BLACKWELL: Thanks for staying with me. I'm Victor Blackwell, live in New York. More of our coverage of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

A jury just a few hours ago found the former Minneapolis police officer guilty of all three charges against him in the murder of George Floyd. Now a sentencing is scheduled for eight weeks from now.

CNN spoke with George Floyd's brother shortly after the guilty verdicts were read. Philonise Floyd calls the verdicts "historic for people of color and deeply personal for his family."

Remember, while we see George Floyd in this global context, he was a brother. He was a son. He was a father. Let's hear now what Philonise told our Sara Sidner.


PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE'S BROTHER: It's a bit of relief. I actually paced back and forth before I even went into the courtroom. I have faith. I believe in God. So I was optimistic and I kept saying, we will get justice, we will get it.

And just sitting in there, just listening to those words, guilty and guilty and guilty on all counts, that was a moment that I will never be able to relive. I will always have it inside of me.

It's just being able to know that it's justice for African American people, just people of color, period, in this world. This is monumental. This is historic. This is a pivotal moment in history.

And all I can think about is Emmett Till. I think about Sandra Bland. I think about Ms. Carley, Eric Garner, there's so many people, new people, being killed. Daunte Wright. I think about Jacob Blake. I think about Philando Castile. All of these people, they're all dead.

You got people that live near me. Pamela Turner, she is dead. And we all need justice. We're all fighting for one reason and it's justice for all.

And I think today has been an occasion where people can celebrate. But tomorrow it's back to business because we have to stay steps ahead of everything and we'll keep pushing and we'll keep pushing and like Reverend Al, saying, we'll keep fighting.


BLACKWELL: More work to be done. Philonise Floyd there, the brother of George Floyd.

We'll continue our coverage of the Derek Chauvin verdict in just a moment. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so grateful for everybody in the city that's been fighting. This is a moment in American history. Let's just keep fighting, you guys. We can make a change.






BLACKWELL: There's been reaction coming in from across the country, around the world, in the Derek Chauvin verdict. Civil rights leader Bernice King says the verdict is a turning point in the movement for justice and equity. She's the daughter of the late reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And she tweeted, "Oh, that George Floyd were still alive. But I'm thankful for accountability. The work continues. Justice is a continuum and America must bend with the moral arc of the universe which bends towards justice," referencing the words of her father. She spoke to CNN about her feelings leading up to the verdict.


REV. BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: I was nervous. I was anxious because, for 400 years, we've gotten it wrong. And I think we approach this moment, just believing that we couldn't -- we wouldn't get it right.

And thank God that the verdict was just right. It was the right verdict. And God knew how much we could bear. It's a turning point because people literally were at a point of being out of breath in this movement for justice and equity.


BLACKWELL: Tamika Palmer, she was the mother of Breonna Taylor. Breonna was fatally shot in a disastrous police raid.


BLACKWELL: Tamika Palmer is praising the verdict against Chauvin. She says, simply, "Thank you, God." She responded to the jury's decision on Twitter. This is the post. "Today justice has been served." She goes on to say that, "We are not done fighting for justice for all the victims and families who haven't received theirs."

She says, quote, "This isn't over." She ended her tweet with the hashtags of the names of her daughter, Breonna, and other people of color, who were victims of violence. Ahmaud Arbery, Adam Toledo, Jacob Blake, Daunte Wright, Sean Monterrosa.

Minnesota's pro basketball teams, the Timberwolves and the Lynx, they hope Chauvin's conviction will serve as a step forward for the U.S. They tweeted, they are committed to influencing change, promoting impactful action and using the platform to help heal and unite in pursuit of liberty and justice for all.

Stay with CNN. We'll have much more special coverage of the verdict against Derek Chauvin, convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. I'll be back in a moment.