tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS April 20, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
coming up next. >> we love our teachers. >> we do. >> we'll be back at 7:00 p.m. >> o'donnell: tonight, the verdict is in, the j captioning sponsored by cbs >> o'donnell: tonight, the verdict is in, the jury finds former officer derek chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of george floyd. the moment the verdict was read: >> find the defendant guilty, guilty, guilty. >> o'donnell: the reaction in the courtroom. floyd's family reacts. ( cheering ) on the streets of minneapolis and across the country, what the jury's decision means for the nation, the social justice movement, and the course of history. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital.
>> o'donnell: good evening, and thank you for joining us. we are going to begin with that breaking news. former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin has been found guilty in the death of george floyd. it took the jurors less than 11 hours to reach the unanimous decision on all three charges, including second- and third- degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. the charges could put him behind bars for up to 40 years. moments after the verdicts were read, chauvin's bail was revoked, and he was lead away from the courtroom in handcuffs. he will be sentenced later this year. chauvin pinned floyd to the ground with his knee on the 46- year-old's neck for nearly nine and a half minutes on memorial day last year, as floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe, and bystanders begged the veteran officer to get off of him. cell phone video of floyd's death horrified americans and galvanized a nationwide social justice movement, leading to protests in cities across the country and those calls for police reform. well, tonight, the crowds that have gathered outside of the courthouse and at the intersection where floyd died are celebrating. we've got our team of
correspondents standing by with new reporting on the verdict and what comes next. n cbs' jamie yuccas has been covering the trial and is going to lead off our coverage from minneapolis. and good evening, jamie. what a day it has been. >> reporter: unbelievable day, norah. no one saw this coming so fast. after nearly a year since the death of george floyd, derek chauvin will spend his first full night behind bars. the courtroom was silent today as the judge read the verdict. tonight, former officer derek chauvin learned his fate. >> we the jury as to count one unintention add second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty. >> reporter: guilty of second- degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. chauvin showed no reaction as the verdicts were read. he was lead out in handcuffs. outside the courtroom, a crowd erupted in cheers. ( cheering ) >>e t be able tore
until you're able to breathe. today we are able to breathe again. >> reporter: the historic verdict came after nearly three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, several officers, including minneapolis' police chief, tearing down the "blue wall of silence," condemning chauvin's actions. >> to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind his back, that in no way, shape, or form that is anything that is it is not part of our training. and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values. >> reporter: then there were the medical experts who testify floyd died from a low level of oxygen caused by the officers. >> the activities of the law enforcement officers resulted in mr. floyd's death, and that, specifically, those activities
were the subdual, the restraint and the neck compression. >> reporter: there was emotion throughout the trial from loved ones and bystanders, including a nine-year-old girl and a 61- year-old man who felt helpful as they watched george floyd die. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: on the final day of testimony, chauvin told the judge that he would not be testifying in his own defense. >> i will invoke my fifth amendment privilege today. >> reporter: during their closing arguments, prosecutors left the jury with this message: >> it's exactly what you saw with your eyes. ectly what you . it's what you felt in your gut. it's what you now know in your heart. this wasn't policing. this was murder. >> reporter: it was a racially diverse jury, made up of seven women and five men. half of them were white, the other half black and mixed race.
after floyd's death last summer sparked weeks of protests and pockets of violence across the country, the verdict comes at a high-stakes moment in the wake of multiple cases of deadly police force against young black men. >> i would not call today's verdict justice, however. because justice implies true restoration. but it is accountability, which is the first step toward justice. >> george floyd mattered. >> o'donnell: and jamie yuccas is back with us. you've been in the courtroom. you're one of the few people who has seen this jury. what's your sense? >> reporter: so, it's interesting. when i was inside the courtroom, the jury was very animated. they were intense, looking at witnesses and the attorneys. d, als the defy ae ha thverdict was read, they were silent. norah. >> o'donnell: so much relief
there in minneapolis. ri thau. let's bring in cbs news legal analyst rikki klieman, who watched this whole trial with us. and, rikki, what do you make of how quickly the jury found derek chauvin guilty on all threend dk chauvin guilty on counts? >> use-of-force cases usually involve a matter of seconds, split-second decisions and determinations. determinations. th this case was different. the jury could look with their r own eyes own eyes and listen when they saw that videotape. this was nine minutes and 29 seconds of excessive use of force, and over three minutes after george floyd was non- responsive and lost his ability to live. so i am not surprised that the verdict was this quick because we don't see evidence like this in most other cases. >> o'donnell: the evidence in some ways overwhelming and definitive. and, rikki, up next, the sentencing. what can we expect from that? >> reporter: the sentencing will be in approximately eight weeks,
as you've pointed out, norah, there is a maximum on the top count of 40 years. the sentences would run concurrently because they are all part of one act. what will happen here is that the judge will consider mitigating factors that helped derek chauvin and aggravating factors that make a sentence possibly much more strict than the guidelines. the guidelines are 10 and-three quarter years to 15 years even on the count of second degree. even the ability of an upward departure for an aggravator, and the aggravator comes just from committing a crime in front of a child. and here we had a nine-year-old child who testified. so the judge has the ability to go all the way to the maximum, if he should so choose. >> o'donnell: really interesting, rikki klieman. thank you so much for your excellent analysis. security has been a big issue.
cbs' jeff pegues is in minneapolis just outside the government center, and he's been covering this case since george floyd was killed last memorial day. security buildup before the verdict. what's happening there now? >> reporter: well, norah, even with the verdict, you don't see police or the national guard standing down. as you know, there are about 3,000 members of the national 3,000 members of the national guard here, and they've been here in anticipation of this verdict. but here's what you see behind me right now. this huge crowd is block this major intersection here in downtown minneapolis, seventh downtown street, third avenue. they've been here for at least the last hour celebrating. and caught in the middle of this are some motorists who are just the moment the verdicts were read... >> find the defendant guilty ( cheers and applause ) >> reporter: outside the courthouse, cheers and celebrations witrn hng,
floyd was killed, tears, and activists saying his name. did you have doubts that you would see this day, even though you, like the rest of the world, saw that videotape? >> yes. i didn't have doubts that he was guilty. i had doubts in terms of white supremacy. >> reporter: in washington d.c., the congressional black caucus agreed with the verdict. in atlanta, satisfaction. along with the celebration, there is realization that there is still more to do. >> i'm happy. i'm shocked. but we need real legislative change in this country, and really look at how we can move the needle because this can't keep happening. this cannot be our reality each and every day, bracing for videos. >> o'donnell: and jeff is back with us. and, jeff, it's interesting to hear the reaction of law enforcement and organizations tonight to this verdict.
>> reporter: yeah. my phone, norah, is blowing up with reaction from law enforcement officials across the country. one top law enforcement official telling me anonymously that he thinks that this is the right verdict. he says, "i hate that the entire policing profession is being viewed through the lens of derek chauvin." the international association of chiefs of police in washington d.c., releasing a statement on the verdict saying that they hope that now is the time to look at evidence-based reforms and to heal, come together, and forge a constructive path forward. so you have some of the reaction coming in from the law enforcement community. as you know, norah, what was significant about this trial was that you had the chief of police testifying against derek chauvin. that in itself sending a statement. >> o'donnell: an excellent point. jeff pegues there in minneapolis. thank you so much. tonight, president biden is
weighing in on the trial, and the lawyers for george floyd's family are calling on him to push congress to pass police reform. cbs' nancy cordes is at the white house for us tonight. >> today we feel a sigh of relief. >> reporter: the vice president and the president called the verdict a measure of justice. >> biden: it was murder in the full light of day. and it ripped the blinders off the whole world to see. the systemic racism. >> black americans, and black men in particular, have been treated, throughout the course of our history, as less than human. >> reporter: president biden has grown close to the floyd family and called them this afternoon. >> now there is some justice. >> reporter: they challenged him to do mre. >> hopefully this is the momentum for the george floyd justice and policing act to get past to have you sign. >> reporter: a democratic police reform bill has passed the house, but is stalled in the senate.
>> biden: we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen or occur again.ow people, or anyone, to they don't fear the interactions of law enforcement, that they don't have to wake up knowing that they can lose the very life in the course of just living their life. >> reporter: the bill they're discussing would ban the use of chokeholds and make it easier to prosecute police officers. but the bill does not have republican support, and there have been no serious talks about a compromise. nancy cordes, cbs news, the white house. >> o'donnell: joining us is michael derek dyson, and, michael, we heard minnesota attorney general say this is not justice, it is accountability. one verdict doesn't heal deep wounds. so what happens next? >> well, i think he is absolutely right.ght. and what we have to what we have to remember is
these are systemic issues. it is not isolated incidents here or an isolated incident there. they have repeatedly happened across the board. so what must we do to make sure that policing itself is rid of the systemic rid of the systemic inequities, the unconscious biases, and the conscious bigotries that have often flooded that community with a kind of deleterious and negative impact on black people? how can black people feel safe, when police stop them like daunte wright right there in minnesota who felt his life would be challenged, would be vulnerable, if he stopped for the police. and, god knows, he ended up being shot. so we have to make certain that we do police reform across the board, that we dismantle inequities that lead to the perpetuation of the loss of life for black and poor people in this nation. and until we have a serious reckoning with what is going on across the board, we won't have true justice for black citizens in this country.
>> o'donnell: let's also bring in cbs' wes lowery. he joins us. he won a pulitzer for his reporting on use of force by police. and, wes, this question now, the systemic reform is needed, what do you expect happens? >> that's a big question about what's going to happen next? i was watching the verdict with a longtime activist here in los angeles who had been involved going back 30 years to rodney king and beforehand. and he said this verdict shows that black life matters, that americans can see and feel the pain that black americans have seen for so long. but he noted that one verdict is not, in fact, a systemic change. the big questions we still have before us is what if any changes systemic, and structural changes to policing are, elected officials, both locally and nationally, willing to engage in? but beyond that, this bigger question of, you know, will black americans be able to achieve full justice, equity,
equality under law? right, it's been the push and pull, a struggle going back to this nation's original sin. now, today is a day that looks very different than 30 years ago when four not guilty verdicts came down in the beating of rodney king, a videotaped atrocity that was, to many black americans, a depiction of a clar abuse of power. today, we see three guilty verdicts. george floyd's family receives justice. but, they still lost george floyd. and so on the one hand, we see guilty verdicts, activists getting what they've called for in this case, something that looks like accountability. on the other hand, george floyd was still killed. he was still underneath former officer derek chauvin's knee for more than nine minutes. and the verdicts today don't change that. >> o'donnell: but does it encourage the type of reform that's needed legislatively? >> well, it can cut in both directions. one thing i would note is a lot of the reforms that have been
proposed nationally and locally are reforms that would not have saved george floyd's life, that had some of these pieces of legislation been passed, george floyd still would have been killed if the officer chose to do this. i do think this does help build momentum on capitol hill. but there's a secondary question of whether or not the legislation being considered will, in fact, speak to the problems that the folks in the street are talking about. on the other hand, there's also a chance that if activists are calling for big systemic change, people who might be opponents to that reform might say, look, the system works as is. why do we need to change things? the officer was found guilty. he's being sent to prison. so there is still a push and pull here about whether or not change will happen. and even if it does happen that will it actually be the type of change that will ensure there won't be additional george floyds, and currently we are not seeing legislation proposed on the merits that would prevent what happened last summer. >> o'donnell: such an important point. wes lowery and michael eric dyson thank you very much for joining us. there's still much more news
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johnson & johnson says it will >> o'donnell: and tonight, johnson & johnson says it will resume rolling out its vaccine in europe after drug regulators there said the benefits outweigh the risks. but those regulators also said it should come with a warning about a possible link to blood clots. here in the u.s., the f.d.a. could make a decision later this week on whether to resume distribution of the j&j shot. tonight, archaeologists are celebrating an historic discovery in the woods of maryland. they found what is believed to be the site of the home owned by harriet tubman's father there. harriet tubman's f there, young harriet learned about the underground railroad, the secret passage to the north, taken by enslaved people from the south. bricks, a coin, and pottery fragments were found in the area that may soon be accessible to visitors. and when we come back, what comes next for this country after tonight's verdict?
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cams, witnesses standing on the sidewalk, begging officer derek chauvin to stop. close-ups of the officer's knee on george floyd's neck, and a grown man lying prone helpless on the street crying for his mother. it sparked a reckoning over race and justice in america. but today's guilty verdict was a reckoning of a new kind, a measure of justice that many feel has been long delayed. the people we spoke to last year in the place where george floyd died told us the road to justice wouldn't be easy, the injustices are systemic, the barriers tooin great. the crowd who came to memorialize george floyd were a multigenerational, multiracial, wchan. they were back there today to mark this moment of accountability. for the last year, we have been in search of a more-perfect union, and today, we may be one step closer. we'll be right back.
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right now at 7. breaking news. the bay area and the nation react to a decisive verdict in the murder of george floyd. >> we will celebrate or release some of the steam and pressure that is been on many black and brown people in this community. >> it doesn't mean it is the end of any problems whatsoever. good evening. here is a look at that verdict. the former police officer derek chauvin was found guilty on all three counts he was facing, second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. the verdict was read five hours ago and crowds have been celebrating in the streets of minneapolis eversi