Joe Biden: Derek Chauvin's conviction for George Floyd's murder a 'giant step forward'

Video report by ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy

President Joe Biden said the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd “can be a giant step forward” for the nation in the fight against systemic racism.

But he declared that “it’s not enough”.

Mr Biden spoke from the White House hours after Tuesday’s verdict alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, with the pair saying the country’s work on racial inequality was far from finished with the verdict.

“We can’t stop here,” Mr Biden declared.

President Joe Biden offered his thoughts Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Mr Biden and Ms Harris called on Congress to act swiftly to address policing reform, including by approving a bill named for Mr Floyd, who died with his neck under Chauvin’s knee last May.

Beyond that, the president said, the entire country must confront hatred to “change hearts and minds as well as laws and policies”.

“‘I can’t breathe’. Those were George Floyd’s last words,” Mr Biden said. “We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. We can’t turn away.”

People march through the streets of Atlanta after Derek Chauvin was found guilty Credit: Ben Gray/AP

Ms Harris, the first black woman to serve as vice president, said racism was keeping the country from fulfilling its founding promise of “liberty and justice for all”.

“It is not just a black America problem or a people of colour problem. It is a problem for every American,” she said. “It is holding our nation back from reaching our full potential.”

“A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.”

Mr Biden addressed the nation after telephoning Mr Floyd’s family following the verdict, telling them, “We’re all so relieved”.

He added later that he sought to comfort Mr Floyd’s young daughter Gianna, telling her: “Daddy did change the world.”

The verdict, which was reached by a jury after less than a day of deliberations and read out on Tuesday afternoon US time, triggered celebrations across the city as crowds flooded the streets with banners and cars blared their horns.

Mr Floyd died on May 25 last year after Chauvin, a 45-year-old white officer, was seen on video kneeling on the 46-year-old black man’s neck for about nine-and-a-half minutes.

The footage drew outrage across the US and triggered worldwide protests and violence last summer.

The jury, which consisted white people and six black or multi-racial people, found Chauvin guilty of all three of his charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

A woman bursts into tears as she says "they see us" upon learning about Chauvin's guilty verdicts:

Mr Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd told reporters at a press conference: "I feel relieved today that I finally have the opportunity to get some sleep. A lot of days that I pray and I hope and I was speaking everything into existence. I said: I have faith that he will be convicted."

He continued: "Today, you have cameras all around the world to see and show what happened to my brother.

"It was a motion picture, the world seeing his life being extinguished and I could do nothing but watch, especially in the court room over and over and over again as my brother was murdered.

"Times, they getting harder every day," Mr Floyd's brother said wiping away tears.

He added: "Imma put up a fight every day, because I'm not just fighting for George anymore, I'm fighting for everybody around this world."

Mr Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd says he can finally get some sleep after the guilty verdict:

Mr Floyd's family attorney Ben Crump said: “America, let’s pause for a moment to proclaim this historical moment, not just for the legacy of George Floyd but for the legacy of America.

“This is a victory for those who champion humanity over inhumanity. Those who champion justice over injustice."

Crowds can be seen celebrating outside the court and outside Cup Foods store, where Mr Floyd died.

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo, who was outside Cup Foods, described seeing people screaming "Black Lives Matter" and a man on the floor in tears shouting "They see us".

Mr Floyd's girlfriend Courteney Ross, who joined in the celebrations, told a crowd: "Floyd also loved our city because he thought it was so beautiful and diverse. I agreed with him but I warned him about that because though we are so diverse, we are also so separated."

She continued: "I know it would be his dream to have this event bring us together. He has never been about divisiveness, he has always been about inclusiveness. Floyd would not forget those who were forgotten."

Mr Floyd's girlfriend Courteney Ross said it would be Mr Floyd's "dream" to bring people together in this moment:

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacted to the verdict: “I was appalled by the death of George Floyd and welcome this verdict.

“My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd’s family and friends.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: “Justice for George Floyd was essential. Praying for his family and friends today, and all who waited with them.

“Praying too for all who live with the trauma of racist violence and oppression, endured over many generations, and all who continue to wait and struggle for justice.”

The charges were brought against the ex-police officer after Mr Floyd died during an arrest outside Cup Foods store on May 25 last year. Police tried to arrest Mr Floyd after he allegedly tried to give a shop worker a counterfeit $20 note.

Video showing Mr Floyd struggling with police drew outrage across the US. The footage shows police trying to put the 46-year-old in a car, but Mr Floyd panicks and pleads that he is claustrophobic. They they pin him to the pavement.

Later in the video, Chauvin's knee is shown to be on Mr Floyd's neck as the 46-year-old gasps repeatedly, "I can't breathe" and as members of the public yelled at the police officer to get off him.

Prosecutors played the video to jurors at the start of the trial, during opening statements, with Jerry Blackwell telling them to “Believe your eyes.” It was shown over and over, analysed one frame at a time by witnesses on both sides.