By Michael Jarvis, UK Correspondent
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, has called for unity in the wake of the guilty verdict against former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of unarmed African-American George Floyd.
Commenting after the unanimous guilty verdict was delivered, Mr Biden said: “The guilty verdict does not bring back George. But through the family’s pain, they are finding purpose so George’s legacy will not be just about his death, but about what we must do in his memory.”
He said, “This is the time for this country to come together, to unite as Americans. There can never be any safe harbor for hate in America.”
The President said the killing of Mr Floyd by Chauvin was “a murder in full light of day” and that “it ripped the blinders off for the whole would to the systemic racism...that's a stain on our nation's soul.”
After the verdict and told them "Nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there is some justice. We're all so relieved."
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison after being found guilty on two counts of murder and one of manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd in May last year.
The verdict was unanimous. The jury retired on Monday and delivered its verdict on Tuesday afternoon.
Sentencing will be in eight weeks. Bail for the convict has been revoked.
The image of former officer Chauvin with his knee firmly planted on the neck of George Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds has been seen around the world. It has become a reference point for the state of race relations in the United States, especially between African-Americans and the police.
Mr Floyd’s plea of ‘I can’t breathe’ has also been co-opted as a slogan by campaigners for racial justice.
The killing in George Floyd caused an explosion of protests across the United States with solidarity protests elsewhere in the world under the banner of Black Lives Matter.
On Tuesday, just hours before the verdict in a move which underlined the gravity of the situation, President Biden had said he was praying for the "right verdict".
There were concerns about further protests if Derek Chauvin was found not guilty.
On the contrary, when the unanimous guilty verdict was announced, crowds outside the courthouse erupted in cheers and prayers.
The verdict has also been welcomed around the world.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Twitter post that he was “appalled by the death of George Floyd and welcome this verdict.”
27 Jan, 2020
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