The Significance of the Derek Chauvin Verdict

David Remnick in The New Yorker:

At the Hennepin County Government Center on Tuesday afternoon, Judge Peter Cahill opened a yellow envelope and read out the verdict against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who, last May, kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds, killing Floyd and igniting a nationwide uprising against police abuse and systemic racism. Chauvin wore a pale-blue face mask. His eyes darted from side to side. The verdict was guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. And, within just a few minutes, it was over. Chauvin, now a convicted murderer, was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom. Cahill thanked the jury for its “heavy-duty service.” Bail was revoked. The sentence will be handed down in eight weeks.

Outside, on a broad lawn, several hundred people had congregated to wait for the news. There were Black Lives Matter activists, reporters, and many people who rushed to the area after getting alerts on their phones that the judge would soon read out the will of the jury. And, when they heard the first of the three guilty verdicts, the reaction was loud and unambiguous.

“It was an explosive cheer,” Jelani Cobb told me, by telephone, from the courthouse. Cobb, a staff writer at The New Yorker, a historian, and the Ira A. Lipman professor of journalism at Columbia University, has been in Minneapolis covering the trial for the magazine. And he has been covering issues of race and criminal justice for many years, from Newark to Atlanta and beyond. We spoke at length on Tuesday; our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

More here.