george floyd verdict

Here's how Toronto responded to the guilty verdict in the death of George Floyd

In what's being hailed as a watershed moment for the U.S. justice system, the Black community, and victims of police violence everywhere, former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd.

Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, while lying handcuffed, on his stomach, in the street, with Chauvin's knee on his neck.

Now infamous video footage shared by a bystander shows the 46-year-old Black man gasping for air and begging for mercy, stating "I can't breathe" more than 20 times while the officer knelt on him for a total of nine minutes and 29 seconds.

By the time Chauvin stood up, Floyd was dead. Now he's the one in handcuffs.

Chauvin, 45, was convicted by a jury in Minneapolis on Tuesday of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

His bail was immediately revoked, according to CNN, and he was taken from the courthouse in cuffs to a Minnesota correctional facility.

The former police officer faces up to 76 years in prison with all three charges combined and will be sentenced in approximately eight weeks.

This isn't typically what happens when cops kill Black men in America, or Canada for that matter, and the delivery of justice for Floyd's loved ones has been perceived as a symbol of hope and a potential spark for desperately-needed systematic change.

While far from the first incident of its kind, the death of Floyd sent shockwaves across the world 11 months ago, prompting mass protests and giving unprecedented momentum to the Black Lives Matter movement.

From weekly marches and enormous artistic tributes to the reskinning of an entire NBA bus fleet, Toronto showed up to denounce the brutal police killings of Floyd and so many others like him last summer.

People in Canada's largest city continue to speak out today as news of the Chauvin verdict circulates.

"In the U.S. today, we saw accountability for the murder of George Floyd," tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the verdict. "But make no mistake, systemic racism and anti-Black racism still exist. And they exist in Canada, too. Our work must and will continue."

"Today's verdict is a watershed moment in holding police brutality to account, but there is still so much more to be done," wrote the Toronto Blue Jays in a statement Tuesday evening.

"George Floyd's loved ones continue to feel the unimaginable loss of their son, brother, father, and friend. And there are countless other families like them, who are forced to live with the trauma of systemic racism, long after the news cycle moves on and the crowds disperse."

"Until we see an end to the senseless killings of Black and Indigenous folks, and people of colour, we must all confront the inequities in our society," continued the Jays organization.

"Remember George Floyd."

The Toronto Police Service issued a statement of its own in response to the verdict, noting that there is still much work to be done in combatting racism locally.

"Today, a jury in a Minneapolis courthouse rendered a verdict of guilty against former police officer Derek Chauvin on the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in relation to the murder of George Floyd," reads the statement.

"While this verdict may be one more step in the process for the family and friends of George Floyd, we know there will be long-standing impacts on Black communities as a whole and not just on those with lived experiences of discrimination in the justice system or by police."

"We acknowledge the hurt, anger, frustration and fear that many may still be feeling at this time."

"As a Service, we have been listening, learning, and changing over the past year and it is our desire to be more responsive to the communities we serve, including our Black residents," continued TPS.

"This is a journey we will continue to take, in partnership with our Black communities as we stand with them on this day and in the future."

Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Rodney Diverlus told CTV that change needs to start with the defunding of police forces, citing anti-Black racism and white supremacism among some officers.

"We know that a verdict will not bring the justice that we need. This actually does little to change very structural changes that we're asking for," he said.

"This is an opportunity for us to be talking about the bold changes and proposals that activists in communities have been pushing for years."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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