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Jury Finds Derek Chauvin Guilty On All 3 Counts In George Floyd's Death
NICOLE BAKER: 12 jurors, 10 hours, and three guilty verdicts. Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is heading to prison. A jury convicted on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd last May. Good to see you with us here at 7:00. I'm Nicole Baker.
RICK RITTER: And I'm Rick Ritter. Now the reading of that verdict, a moment the country really has been watching and waiting for. And tonight, people all across the country are celebrating, breathing a sigh of relief. That includes right here in Baltimore.
NICOLE BAKER: From Baltimore City to the county, we have extensive live team coverage for you tonight. Let's begin with Kelsey Kushner, where a car caravan and a rally, Kelsey, is happening right now.
KELSEY KUSHNER: Nicole, Rick. Well as soon as that verdict came in today, we heard cars honking. People were singing in the streets here in Baltimore. Now there was a small group that met here on North Charles Street, and they are now marching in the streets. There's a car caravan that's going on. People are holding signs. They are chanting no justice, no peace. They're giving speeches.
They're showing their support of the guilty verdict. And many people that we spoke with today were very emotional. They say they are excited. They are relieved, and they feel as though this is the start of a new day. Take a listen to what they had to say.
ANNIE CHAMBERS: I'm filled with joy. I am feeling happiness. I'm feeling justice.
- It kind of gives me hope that I can finally get pulled over without having to fear for my life. I feel as though if anything else were to happen that justice will be served.
KELSEY KUSHNER: Now that caravan rally is going to end at City Hall. They are encouraging people to come out and stand with them peacefully. Reporting live at 7:00, Kelsey Kushner for WJZ.
RICK RITTER: Kelsey, thank you. Here's what Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has to say about the verdict, releasing a statement saying as a law enforcement executive, the actions and conduct of Chauvin not only failed to represent the oath to protect and serve, but it was shocking to the consciousness to every human being that watch that video. And I believe that justice has been appropriately served.
This is not how any officer should conduct themselves. Our department will continue to support members of our community that want to exercise their First Amendment rights and peacefully gather, in reference to the verdict in this case. Later adding, we asked the residents continue to demonstrate in a peaceful and orderly fashion, just as they had done last year during the months after learning of the murder of George Floyd.
NICOLE BAKER: And Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott says this. My heart goes out to the loved ones of George Floyd, and I hope they find some healing in today's verdict. Regardless of this decision, more work remains to prove once and for all that Black Lives matter in America. We must honor Floyd's legacy and join together to build an inclusive system that truly works for everyone.
RICK RITTER: And let's bring in Sean Streicher now, he's been living Baltimore County for us.
NICOLE BAKER: Yeah Sean, we know you've been talking to people there. What are they telling you tonight?
SEAN STREICHER: Well you know, it was really surprising at how quickly the news traveled of this guilty verdict, which just goes to show you all eyes really were on this trial. We were five minutes up the road at UMBC when the verdict was read. You could hear cheers off in the distance. We got in the car we drove you to Catonsville. A lot of people already had heard the news, and we asked them about their feelings regarding the guilty verdict.
- I just feel like for so long, there are similar cases, and they always come up not guilty. And then finally this time, it feels like we're getting ahead.
- I am super happy. Because I was worried about what would happen if he was not found guilty.
- Well it was obvious. Everyone saw on the video what happened. You know, total abuse of power.
- I think it is well deserved. And I think it's really important for us to know that he is being held responsible for what happened, because it was a complete tragedy. And I want my kids to know that things like this are being addressed finally. Now
SEAN STREICHER: One of the person I spoke with today, I said how do you feel? What's the first emotion that comes to mind? She told me relief. And I have a feeling that a lot of people are feeling slightly relieved tonight. Reporting live in Catonsville, I'm Sean Streicher for WJZ.
NICOLE BAKER: Lots of reaction tonight. Sean, thank you. Ava-joye Burnett joins us right now live at City Police headquarters.
RICK RITTER: And Ava-joye, local leaders have been on high alert waiting to see what would happen in Minneapolis. And they've been preparing for this moment. Tell us about it.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: They've been preparing for this for weeks now. We spoke with the police commissioner here in Baltimore City, and he told me that he's been spending time, especially getting training for his newer officers so that they are aware of the First Amendment rights of protesters. He also told me that he's been working with other agencies around to ensure that everything stays safe not only today, but beyond.
Even before the jury started deliberating in Minneapolis, barriers went up around City Hall and Baltimore police headquarters. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison says he supports protests but not the violence.
MICHAEL HARRISON: The message is clear. If you come in to do harm and destruction and commit crime, you will be held accountable.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Baltimore County Police said they've been monitoring the trial and they are in a continuous state of readiness. And they're ready to adjust based on intelligence. Further South in the nation's capital, the Department of Defense authorized more than 200 DC National Guard troops to help Metropolitan Police just in case. Baltimore's history with protests and police misconduct is still a fresh wound here.
- Literally I think to the day six years ago that we experienced great violence in our own city. We watched Baltimore burn. And we don't want to go back.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: The city's first Equity Officer who focuses on diversity says there is a direct correlation between police brutality and the fight for change.
- The protests are the voices of the unheard. From an equitable perspective, it is inequitable that African-Americans are the ones that are being subject and victimized. And they're saying enough.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: And the commissioner told me he is constantly monitoring everything, he and his staff. And that includes taking a look at what's happening on social media and being ready to dispatch wherever things may pop up. Live at 7:00, Ava-joye Burnett for WJZ.
RICK RITTER: Ava-joye, thank you. Governor Hogan tweeting about the guilty verdict saying the senseless murder of George Floyd served as yet another reminder that we still have a long way to go to live up to our high-- our nation's highest ideals. And justice has been served, and we hope that the verdict will bring some measure of peace to the Floyd family and community.
NICOLE BAKER: Well of course, stay with WJZ for complete coverage of the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial and what comes next. We'll bring you the latest developments on air and online at wjz.com.