tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC April 20, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
good evening again, everyone. and it is great to have you with us on history made in this country. the verdict coming in late this afternoon from minneapolis. former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin found guilty on all three charges in the death of george floyd, nearly a year ago. it was memorial day last year. the jury coming to a swift, unanimous decision after just 10 1/2 hours of deliberation. intense anticipation across the country you waiting to hear, and then the verdict came in. the camera trained on derek chauvin's face as the judge read the decision. guilty of second degree murder. guilty of third degree murder and guilty of second degree
manslaughter. guilty on all three charges. the silence broken outside the courthouse. hundreds gathered there. shouts of surprise but also relief in george floyd's square, that's right outside cup foods in south minneapolis fwhere george floyd died last memorial day. president biden, as we've been reporting this afternoon, calling george floyd's family, telling them, quote, nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there is some justi justice. and this image tonight from black lives matter plaza in washington, d.c. this is just across from the white house. a young black man falling to his knees in tears. we heard descriptions from rachel scott who was on the scene there. within moments, derek chauvin placed in handcuffs and led away, potentially facing decades behind bars. and at this hour, the reaction, of course, coming in from across this country. what will it mean for the nation's reckoning on race, justice and policing? abc's alex perez leading us off tonight from minneapolis. >> members of the jury, i will
now lead the verdict. >> reporter: the jury deliberating just 10 1/2 hours, and with the nation watching, judge peter cahill reading their unanimous verdict. >> we, the jury in the above entitled matter, as to count one, unintentional second degree murder while commmitting a felony, find the defendant guilty. verdict count two. we, the jury in the above entitled matter, as to count two, third-degree murder perpetrating an eminently dangerous act, find the defendant guilty. verdict count three. we, the jury in the above entitled matter as to count three, second-degree manslaughter, culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk, find the defendant guilty. >> reporter: the jury of seven women and five men, which included six people of color, stayed late last night and came in early this morning. they worked swiftly and didn't send out a single question during their deliberations. >> are these your verdicts so say you one, so say you all? >> yes. >> reporter: in houston, george floyd's family members, including his older brother, watching as the verdict was read. >> find the defendant guilty. >> yes! >> find the defendant guilty.
>> yes! >> reporter: here in minneapolis, other family members erupting. >> yes! >> reporter: and in george floyd square, near where he was murdered, jubilation. the prosecution built their case around that video seen around the world. the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that sparked a racial reckoning movement, telling jurors, believe your own eyes. >> it's exactly what you knew. 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: the teenager who shot that video, darnella frazier, taking the stand, testifying offcamera. like so many eyewitnesses, she's still haunted by what she saw.
>> when i look at george floyd, i look at -- i look at my dad. i look at my brothers, i look at my cousins, my uncles, because they're all black. i look at how that could have been one of them. it's been nights, i stayed up apologizing and -- and apologizing to george floyd for not doing more. >> reporter: a dozen law enforcement witnesses, including the minneapolis chief of police, testified against derek chauvin. >> to continue to apply that level of force to a person, proned out, handcuffed behind their back. that -- that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy. it is not part of our training,
and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values. >> reporter: the prosecution's medical experts were blunt. >> a healthy person subjected to what mr. floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to. >> reporter: chau vun opting not to take the stand in his own defense. >> i will invoke my fifth amendment privilege today. >> reporter: his attorney calling just seven witnesses to the prosecution's 38. they sought to convince jurors that george floyd's heart disease and drug use led to his death, not chauvin's knee on his neck. >> derek chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. the use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing. >> reporter: but the jury was not convinced, and tonight, we have their judgment. what derek chauvin did to george floyd wasn't policing, it was murder. the former officer put in handcuffs himself, as he was led out of court.
>> and so where do we go from here as far as derek chauvin as his fate? let's bring in alex perez, who has been covering this case from the start and the trial there in minneapolis. alex, i understand derek chauvin will be sentenced in about eight weeks now and faces up to 40 years behind bars, based on that most serious of the charges? >> reporter: yeah, that's right, david. he could face up to 40 years behind bars. the judge will have a lot of discretion and can consider many factors when he imposes his sentence. tonight, david, we're hearing from darnella frazier, that young woman who posted and shared that video that we've all seen. she tweeted tonight, "george floyd, we did it. justice has been served." david? >> darnella frazier reaffecting to the news today and remembering her on the witness stand, saying she's cried many a night wondering if she could have done more for george floyd. alex perez leading us off tonight, thank you. and of course, there's already strong reaction and moving reactions copping in from across this country. george floyd's death sparked
demonstrations and protests and conversations, including people from various races and backgrounds across this country. parents bringing their children out to these protests. is in minneapolis with what vis- we're seeing so far. >> reporter: tonight, the crowd outside cup foods in minneapolis erupting in cheers as they learned of derek chauvin's conviction in george floyd's death. at the u.s. capitol, members of the congressional black caucus clasping hands as they listened to the verdicts. the disturbing video of chauvin with his knee on floyd's neck, as floyd told officers he could not breathe, stunned the world. the memorial day incident then inciting outrage. with people from various races and backgrounds taking to the streets.asna scenes oteown in silence remembering the 46-year-old father. the black lives matter movement seeing a resurgence. >> black lives matter!
>> reporter: and from los angeles to phoenix, orlando to new york city, demonstrators demanding justice for floyd, but also for other african-americans who have died in police custody. at the brooklyn memorial service, his brother terrence telling our david muir his family appreciated the diversity seen among demonstrators. >> when you looked out into that crowd and saw that sea of faces, black, white, asian-american, latino, what did you make of it? >> i just know my brother was proud. because i know the whole floyd family is proud of that. because we're all standing together. we're all standing together for the cause of justice. >> reporter: in september of last year, that intersection near where floyd was arrested renamed george floyd square. >> and so let's bring in linsey davis tonight, our sunday night anchor, who is on the ground in minneapolis, and linsey, george floyd's death, we know, sparked a conversation across this country and a long overdue one. and you were saying as we were on the air with our breaking coverage earlier, that the word
that best described perhaps what you witnessed there in minneapolis is that people exhaled. cities across this country and in small towns where we saw these protests and conversations started between police and people who live in those communities and tonight, ken moton reporting that george floyd's family hopes that this verdict is just the beginning of this next chapter. >> reporter: that's right. you can still hear some celebratory cheers out in the streets now, but people are also ready to get to work, as far as real change. many members of the black caucus and democrats are asking for legislation, specifically named george floyd justice in policing act. this is legislation that would combat misconduct in policing, particularly racial bias in policing. david? >> linsey davis with our coverage in minneapolis tonight. linsey, thank you so much. been with me for all of our coverage throughout this trial. i want to bring in our chief legal analyst dan abrams
tonight. and dan, before we goat to the question, i just wanted to point out that this jury, the makeup of the jury, which is a headline in and of itself, we knew this going, but perhaps now an even more significant part of this, the jury was made up of six white jurors, six people of color, four black jurors and two people who identify as mixed race. so, a very diverse jury deciding this. and we know that in the closing argueths in the last 24 hours, prosecutors going back to what they said on the very first day in that opening statement, that you can believe what you see and it would appear the jurors did. >> absolutely. that message resonated. believe what you see, believe your eyes. use your common sense. those were the basic arguments made by the prosecutors, which is the video tells the story. and i think when you point out about the diversity of the jurors, it wasn't just their racial diversity. there was a great diversity in
terms of what they did for a living and how they viewed the world and how they viewed the protests, et cetera. and i think that this can instill a sense of confidence that this really was a jury of americans coming together to reach this unanimous verdict of all of the charges in a relatively short period of time. >> dan abrams with us tonight on this trial. dan, thank you. i want to go to former prosecutor sunny hostin. and you were telling me right before we went on the air with news of the verdict that as a veteran prosecutor yourself, even you were surprised that this deliberation was relatively short, no questions from these jurors, no confusion over the chan char charges. >> this was highly unusual, i mean, it's always clear to prosecutors that a quick verdict, a fast verdict really hints at an agreement, but in a case like this, with over 40
witnesses, with medical testimony, although there was this video that the world had seen, the defense, although didn't have a lot to work with, did a decent job with reasonable doubt and so i was very surprised that there were no questions for read-back of testimony, no questions for legal instruction clarification. that is very, very odd, especially when it comes to convicting a police officer, because we know in this count country -- i think that many jurors are loathe to convict police officers. historically, think about it, since 2015, there have been about 15,000 policekillings and i would say that stats aren't very clear but chauvin is probably only the seventh police officer that has been convicted of murder. those are the stats. that shows you how difficult it is to convict. >> and we know the prosecution was aware of that, which is why the prosecution showed just the vast number of police witnesses on that one visual that they put
before the jury, several police witnesses, including the police chief, who came forward and testified against officer chauvin, that was extraordinarily rare to witness during a trial. one other question for you. the defense worked throughout this trial and in their closing in talking about the bystanders, talking about them as a potential threat, but at the very least, a distraction. and then the prosecution, in their final word, their rebuttal, they got up there and said the bystanders, they said, you met most of the bistanders that were there that day and they closed with the thought of that 9-year-old girl who witnessed the whole thing and she was on the witness stand and she said she remembered when the paramedics arrived, more than nine minutes into that video and the paramedics had to say, "get off of him." >> that was one of the most effective rebuttals that i have ever seen, david. putting the eyes of a up there for the world and for
the jury to see. it was really, really remarkable. and this is what justice looks like. justice is accountability. >> sunny hostin and dan abrams with us here tonight. thank you both. we know that president biden called the floyd family. we know we have a camera angle of part of that conversation, the phone call was made from the oval office but here is the other side of that phone call in the hallways of that courthouse. take a look. >> feeling better now. nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there's some justice. >> right. >> and you know, i think -- i think of gianna's comment, my daddy's going to change it now, we're going to start to change it now. >> yes. amen. >> going to change it now. >> yes. >> so, you've been incredible. you're an incredible family. i wish i were there just to put my arms around you. >> president biden calling george floyd's family and our chief white house correspondent cecilia vega is here, and
cecilia, we know this is a relationship that dates back to almost a year ago, right after this tragedy. the president, then former vice president joe biden, we know now he's the president, obviously, but he reached out to that family very early on. he went down to houston on the eve of the funeral, met with the family and left a video message played at that tune r funeral. he's not shied away from it, that he supported this family and this conversation that the loss of their loved one spurred in america. >> reporter: he has said all along, david, that he believes george floyd was murdered and that he died in the hands of brutality. and he said in that phone call today that this verdict was justice. the family is hoping now for some reckoning here in washington. they want to see the george floyd justice in policing ability passed. it has passed in the houts, bse it is stalled in the senate. it would ban chokeholds. but republicans, david, here in washington say that this bill would weaken law enforcement and
potentially put officers at risk. for now, the hope for movement is stalled. >> cecilia vega reporting from the white house. that conversation the president had with the family, cecilia, thank you. we do expect to hear from president biden and vice president kamala harris at some point this evening. if it happens during the broadcast, we will bring it to you. thank you to cecilia and to our entire team covering this verdict all afternoon here on abc. there is, of course, other news we're following tonight, and the concern growing when it comes to coronavirus here in the u.s. the demand for vaccines slowing down. thousands of appointments apparently going ignored across the country. and they want to get the word out that there is available vaccine. this all comes after the cdc imposed that temporary pause on the johnson & johnson vaccine. tonight, european regulators now supporting the one-shot vaccine as long as there is a warning that goes with it, saying that the benefits do outweigh the risks. the cdc saying it could lift the pause here later this week. we know there's going to be
another meeting. what they're reluctant tonight, what we're learning tonight. here's abc's marcus moore. >> reporter: growing reports tat demand for vaccines is slowing down, as thousands of appointments go unfilled across the country. how critical is it that people get vaccinated? >> it is absolutely critical, we are in a race against the virus, and against time to reach herd immunity before the virus mutates into something that can defeat our vaccines. >> reporter: this site in dallas can do 12,000 vaccinations a day. but on some days, they're doing as few as 4,000. 44% of counties in this country are battling high community spread of kroefts, coronavirus, but many rural areas are seeing lower turnout for the vaccine. >> just like many other places across the united states, rural populations are just not coming out to get vaccinated. >> reporter: and vaccine hesitancy is higher in underserved communities hit hardest by the virus. >> i'm just waiting more or less to see what is going on and then
i can decide whether or not i want to take it. >> reporter: a recent poll revealing a political divide, too. 45% of republicans said they do not plan to get a covid-19 vaccine right now, compared to 27% of americans overall. doctor and republican congressman andy harris giving shots in his home district in maryland. >> you should be getting the vaccine because the benefits outweigh the risks, and we need to make sure we are protecting our most vulnerable people in the united states. >> reporter: david, back to that news on the johnson & johnson vaccine. while european officials are recommending a warning, back here in the u.s., the cdc advisory panel is expected to meet again on friday. david? >> all right, marcus moore tonight with us, as well. thank you. when we come back here, there is news this evening about another deadly shooting. this time, at a grocery store right outside new york city. the unfolding scene today. and later tonight, we remember a former vice president. if you have obstructive sleep apnea and you're often tired during the day, you could be missing out on amazing things. sunosi can help you stay awake for them.
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and an end note tonight, as a nation responds to the guilty verdict in the trial of derek chauvin. the images outside the courthouse in minneapolis, cheers of justice. in washington, d.c., allison haywood hugging her mother as they heard. and london williams from harrisburg, pennsylvania, reacting. george floyd's family tonight saying they hope a new chapter begins of conversation and unity in this country. good night.
we the jury asked account wind unintentional second- degree murder find the defendant guilty. third-degree murder perpetrating an eminently dangerous act by the guilty. guilty on all three counts followed by chairs on the streets and minneapolis. good afternoon. thank you for joining us. i am larry beale. this is a a a a a a present centers sentences former police officer derek chauvin faces for the death of george floyd. the judge announcd sentencing will happen in about 8 weeks. we begin coverage with reena roy who is in minneapolis with tensions running high as people waited for the outcome of the case. >> reporter: after 10 1/2 hours of deliberation the jury has
come to a verdict. >> with the jurythe jurythe jury one unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony find the defendant guilty. >> convicted on all three charges. he showed no emotion as he was cuffed and taken into custody. >> for a high profile case this is a pretty fast verdict. when the world is watching, the jurors typically want to cross their teas and.the eyes and let it clear they very carefully considered the evidence. >> jurors heard six hours of closing arguments from both sides after nearly 3 weeks of powerful testimony and supporting evidence. prosecutors argued derek shelton's action killed floyd. the defense hoping to create reasonable doubt saying his use of force was justified blaming his drug and hard issues for his death. >> derek chauvin should be found not guilty. >> what the defendant did --