Chauvin will likely appeal the conviction, as advocates hope the guilty verdict will spur greater police reforms.
The conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was met with a sigh of relief of activists, legislators, US citizens and officials, many of whom have long called for accountability in the killings of unarmed Black people in the country.
It also had many – including US President Joe Biden – asking what comes next, and calling for greater police reform and support for communities of colour.
On social media, many pointed to the initial Minneapolis Police Department’s version of Floyd’s death, which said Floyd died “after a medical incident during a police interaction” and did not mention that Chauvin had kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, as proof of just how precarious police accountability remains in the US
This fabricated police story might have become the official account of George Floyd’s death if concerned citizens had not intervened and recorded the police,” tweeted political commentator and former Bill Clinton aide Keith Boykin.
International and US rights groups, legislators, and foreign officials were also quick to point out that the verdict reached in former officer Chauvin’s case, which relied on a stark depiction of Floyd’s killing captured on cell phone video and police body camera footage, as well as the eventual condemnation from his Minneapolis Police Department supervisors, remains an exceedingly rare occurrence in the US.
“As we have painfully witnessed in recent days and weeks, reforms to policing departments across the US continue to be insufficient to stop people of African descent from being killed,” Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The truth is that Derek Chauvin being held accountable for killing George Floyd is the exception – not the rule,” said Amnesty International’s Paul O’Brien, in a statement following the verdict.
We must acknowledge the racist roots of law enforcement in this country if we are to address the systemic failures of policing and bring about meaningful public safety for those that have been historically overpoliced,” he said.