Video report by ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo
Shops and office blocks were boarded up. The mayors of Minneapolis and nearby St. Paul had requested assistance from the National Guard, which sent 3,000 troops. Everyone was prepared for a riot.
On the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street, where George Floyd was killed 330 days earlier, people huddled around mobile phones to watch the television news to see the verdict announced in this historic case.
The dozens who had gathered became hundreds, and whispers became chants - but expectations remained low. There’s a familiar ending to cases like this.
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Journalists talk of fury and rage when describing protests and vigils by anti-racist movements like this one, but the profound feeling here was of helplessness - the sense that Black people seeking justice in a case against an American police force are simply chasing a mirage.
So when the news came through - that Derek Chauvin was guilty on all counts - something seemed to changed.
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There were screams and tears. “They see us, they see us, we matter, we matter,” screamed one sobbing supporter.
But those tears were not just for George Floyd - they were for all African Americans who feel his case was a snapshot of the state of racial inequality in the United States.
For so many Black people, Mr Floyd was a stranger, but an ally.
The knee on the neck was already a metaphor for Black people, long before his death. And the international outrage it sparked had resonance with people everywhere who had suffered the full range of racist aggressions, from unconscious bias to racist murders.
As the verdicts came through, there were screams of joy.
A woman bursts into tears as she says "they see us" upon learning about Chauvin's guilty verdicts
"We can stop holding our breath. It just wasn’t about him on trial. This was all about this government-sanctioned, racist policing,” said one supporter.
“This is the moment when we recognise that things can change. This is the moment when we recognise and we believe that things can change.”
This was a moment of euphoria.
But all around this infamous intersection are the images of Black men - African Americans killed by police officers, who have not seen the same justice that the family of George Floyd have.
Once the carnival ends, many people will ask, what happens next?