President Joe Biden is speaking out after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday on all counts in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Shortly after news of the verdict broke, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called the Floyd family to speak to them directly.
"Nothing is going to make it all better but at least now there's some justice," Biden said. "We're going to start to change [the world] now. You're an incredible family. I wish I were there to just be around you."
"We're all so relieved ... and I'm so anxious to see you guys, I really am," he continued. "We're going to get a lot more done."
President Biden and VP Harris call the Floyd family after the GUILTY verdict! Thank you @POTUS & @VP for your support! We hope that we can count on you for the police reform we NEED in America! ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/cg4V2D5tlI
"Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd," read a tweet from Biden's account soon after. "The verdict is a step forward. And while nothing can ever bring George Floyd back, this can be a giant step forward on the march towards justice in America."
Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd.
The verdict is a step forward.
And while nothing can ever bring George Floyd back, this can be a giant step forward on the march towards justice in America.
Biden and Harris also spoke at the White House, with Biden mentioning Floyd's legacy and the work ahead. The president also mentioned that he had spoken with Floyd's daughter, Gianna.
"When I met her last year at George's funeral, I told her how brave I thought she was," he said, recalling how Gianna told him her father would change the world. "I told her this afternoon, 'Daddy did change the world.' Let that be his legacy, a legacy of peace, not violence."
"This is a time for this country to come together, to unite as Americans. We can never be any safe harbor for hate in America," Biden continued, mentioning the battle for the soul of the nation he's discussed before.
"We can't leave this moment or look away thinking our work is done. We have to look at it as we did for those 9 minutes and 29 seconds. We have to listen. 'I can't breathe.'... Those are George Floyd's last words. We can't let those words die with him,'" he said.
"We have a chance to change the trajectory in this country," Biden concluded. "This can be a moment of significant change."
Meanwhile, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to react to the news.
"Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more," Obama tweeted. "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."
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
As CBS News reported on Tuesday, Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis, where the trial began last month, and said that sentencing will take place in about eight weeks. Chauvin was taken away in handcuffs.
The jury -- made up of six White people, four Black people and two multiracial people -- heard 13 days of testimony, according to CBS News. Cahill sent the jurors to begin deliberations after attorneys on both sides concluded lengthy closing arguments Monday. The outlet also reports that the jury was sequestered during deliberations, but was not sequestered during the earlier portion of the trial.
In his closing argument, prosecutor Steve Schleicher urged jurors to focus on the video showing Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. "Believe your eyes," Schleicher said. "Unreasonable force, pinning him to the ground -- that's what killed him. This was a homicide."
"This case is exactly what you thought when you first saw it -- when you first saw the video," he continued. "It's exactly that. It's exactly what you saw with your eyes. It's exactly what you knew. It's exactly what you felt in your gut. It's what you now know in your heart. This wasn't policing, this was murder."