When the verdict in the trial of police officer Derek Chauvin was finally announced this afternoon, a collective sigh of relief was uttered in rooms across the country as people realized that we would not likely be forced into another cycle of violent and destructive outpourings of rage over a potential miscarriage of justice.
It’s so unusual to see a verdict match up with the plainly visible facts — as they were revealed on videos of Chauvin draining the life out of George Floyd with his knee on his victim’s neck for over nine minutes — that people were barely prepared for the rare guilty verdict imposed upon a police officer clearly violating the law.
Instead of the outbursts of anger that an acquittal would have likely inspired in the crowd gathered outside the Minnesota courtroom awaiting the decision, the assembled justice seekers broke into cheers after the jury vindicated their demands for a fair determination of responsibility for police officers who violate their duties and decide that they have the right to play executioner without consequence.
Wild cheering outside of courthouse now. Crowd is jubilant to hear of guilty verdict. pic.twitter.com/Q3sN6HN9pE
— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) April 20, 2021
People not on the scene at the courthouse took to social media to express their jubilation over the fact that, for once, the American judicial system did not reach an inexplicable decision and let Chauvin off the hook for his heinous behavior without a penalty, and, before long, #RotInHell was trending on Twitter.
Here’s a small sample of the reactions to the verdict as found on Twitter this afternoon so far.
— Mz. Chievous ™️ (@CCLcaribecrew) April 20, 2021
— تشتِ طلا (@shadypeachqueen) April 20, 2021
— Mckenzie H (@mckenziehollis) April 20, 2021
Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied. pic.twitter.com/mihZQHqACV
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 20, 2021
Don’t you dare say “the system worked.”
The system was working when Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck too.#GUILTY
— Kristin Mink #AbolishTheJimCrowFilibuster (@KristinMinkDC) April 20, 2021
The evidence of our eyes met at last by accountability in the eyes of justice. #DerekChauvinTrial
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) April 20, 2021
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 20, 2021
i know everyone's going to say this, but it really is somethign that we are all collectively so shocked and relieved that what everyone very clearly saw with their own eyes was affirmed
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) April 20, 2021
“Justice is what Love looks like in public.” – Cornell West #DerekChauvinTrial
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) April 20, 2021
Now imagine if there was no clear cell phone video of the entire murder.
— Formerly Known as ALT-immigration 🛂 (@ALT_uscis) April 20, 2021
Historic Verdict: GUILTY on all three charges!
This trial will have lasting implications on policing. And now, Derek Chauvin will go to prison and face the justice that many others weren’t afforded at the hands of bad cops like him.
Justice has been served! #DerekChauvinTrial
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) April 20, 2021
Good, now start on ALL of the other officer-related murders…
"Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts, jury decides Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder & second-degree manslaughter…
— Oma (@PUCKFOUSE) April 20, 2021
George Floyd should be alive today.
While today’s verdict provides some measure of justice and accountability, systemic racism is still pervasive in American life. We must continue the fight for justice. pic.twitter.com/A1WOnqeM1z
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 20, 2021
The guilty verdict is a plus. It doesn't override the fact that George Floyd isn't here to see it.
Relief and sadness.
— Jess Phoenix 🌋 (@jessphoenix2018) April 20, 2021
Derek Chauvin took the sacred gift of life from #GeorgeFloyd but was given the very thing he denied his victim, due process of the law.#ChauvinIsGuilty #DerekChauvinVerdict #DerekChauvinTrial #GeorgeFloydTrial
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 20, 2021
The reason people are excited that Chauvin will go to prison is because prison is where we send poor, black disabled people to rot. This “justice” is built upon the exploitation and suffering of every day people in prisons
— derecka (@dereckapurnell) April 20, 2021
I saw the verdict come down with London and Stephanie, a couple visiting BLM Plaza from Pennsylvania. As the judge read them off — guilty, guilty, guilty — London began to weep.
— Marissa J. Lang (@Marissa_Jae) April 20, 2021
Our hope is that this verdict will be a small step towards accountability. But that’s just about accountability, not justice.
For us, justice would be George Floyd alive today.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) April 20, 2021
This doesn’t make up for Emmet Till, Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin, but it’s a start.
Derek Chauvin didn’t just murder George Floyd, he terrorised the world. Guilty on all three counts.
I hope he rots in prison!!#DerekChauvinTrial
— Chizzy (@chizzyakudolu) April 20, 2021
— Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv) April 20, 2021
Remember them all . . .
— Steve Rustad (@SteveRustad1) April 20, 2021
With Chauvin’s bail revoked, the now acknowledged murderer was remanded into custody where he will be guarded by other law enforcement officers who will hopefully see his conviction as a cautionary tale for their future conduct.
Suffice it to say, however, that there are still many people who were not happy to see Derek Chauvin face accountability for his deadly actions.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) April 20, 2021
Likely these are the same deplorables who cried “stolen election,” “Lock her up,” and “build the wall” who took their white hoods off long enough to tweet their racist opinions about how their sacred law enforcement officer was railroaded, despite the video evidence and expert testimony that the jurors all heard.
Let them bleat away. Today is a day to celebrate justice and the proper functioning of a legal system that often ignores that crucial component.
Today was a day when America finally got it right. Let’s keep it that way from now on.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.