MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After three weeks of testimony, the trial of the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd ended swiftly: barely over a day of jury deliberations, then just minutes for the verdicts to be read — guilty, guilty and guilty — and Derek Chauvin was handcuffed and taken away to prison.
Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades when he is sentenced in about two months in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
The verdict set off jubilation mixed with sorrow across the city and around the nation. Hundreds of people poured into the streets of Minneapolis, some running through traffic with banners. Drivers blared their horns in celebration.
"Today, we are able to breathe again," Floyd's younger brother Philonise said at a joyous family news conference where tears streamed down his face as he likened Floyd to the 1955 Mississippi lynching victim Emmett Till, except that this time there were cameras around to show the world what happened.
The jury of six whites and six Black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. The now-fired white officer was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
'Sliver of hope.' Relief, caution as America absorbs verdict
NEW YORK (AP) — When the verdicts came in — Guilty, Guilty, Guilty — Lucia Edmonds let out the breath she hadn't even realized she'd been holding.
The relief that the 91-year-old Black woman felt flooding over her when white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for killing George Floyd was hard-earned, coming after a lifetime of seeing other cases end differently.
"I was prepared for the fact that it might not be a guilty verdict because it's happened so many times before," the Washington, D.C., resident said. She recalled the shock of the Rodney King case nearly three decades ago when four Los Angeles officers were acquitted of beating King, a Black motorist.
"I don't know how they watched the video of Rodney King being beaten and not hold those officers to account," Edmonds said. About the Chauvin verdict, she said, "I hope this means there is a shift in this county, but it's too early for me to make that assumption." Still, she added: "Something feels different."
The same sense of relief, of accountability served and crisis at least temporarily averted, was palpable across the United States on Tuesday after a jury found Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in killing Floyd, a Black man who took his last breath pinned to the street with the officer's knee on his neck.
Floyd verdict gives hope, if only fleeting, to Black America
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Relief, even if fleeting and momentary, is a feeling that Black Americans have rarely known in America: From slavery to Jim Crow segregation to enduring punishments for living while Black, a breath of fresh air untainted by oppression has long been hard to come by.
Nonetheless, the conviction of ex-cop Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd nearly a year ago allowed many across this city and the nation to exhale pent-up anxiety — and to inhale a sense of hope.
But what might they feel hope for?
The fate of Chauvin — found guilty of murder and manslaughter for holding a knee to Floyd's neck, choking off his breathing until he went limp last May — showed Black Americans and their compatriots once again that the legal system is capable of valuing Black lives.
Or at least it can hold one white police officer in Minnesota accountable for what many declared an unambiguous act of murder months ago.
Biden to America after Floyd verdict: 'We can't stop here'
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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."
Biden spoke Tuesday from the White House hours after the verdict alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, with the pair saying the country's work is far from finished with the verdict.
"We can't stop here," Biden declared.
Biden and Harris called on Congress to act swiftly to address policing reform, including by approving a bill named for 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," 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."
Hitting latest vaccine milestone, Biden pushes shots for all
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is set to meet President Joe Biden's latest vaccine goal of administering 200 million COVID-19 shots in his first 100 days in office, as the White House steps up its efforts to inoculate the rest of the public.
With more than 50% of adults at least partially vaccinated, Biden on Wednesday will reflect on his efforts to expand vaccine distribution and access in his first three months in the White House. But with all those 16 and older now eligible for shots, the president is expected to outline his administration's plans to drive up the vaccination rate even further.
With roughly 28 million vaccine doses being delivered each week, demand has eclipsed supply as the constraining factor to vaccinations in much of the country. While surveys have shown that vaccine hesitancy has declined since the rollout of the shots, administration officials believe they have to make getting vaccinated easier and more appealing.
Maximizing the number of Americans vaccinated in the coming months is critical for the White House, which is aiming to restore a semblance of normalcy around the July Fourth holiday and even more so by the beginning of the next school year.
Biden was not expected to set new public targets for vaccinations, and administration officials have been careful to avoid predicting when they project the country will have vaccinated enough people to reach herd immunity. The U.S. is on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult by the end of May and for every American by July, but administering them will be another matter.
AP PHOTOS: India being overrun by its massive virus surge
India has been overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of new coronavirus cases daily, bringing pain, fear and agony to many lives as lockdowns have been placed in Delhi and other cities.
India's Health Ministry reported 295,041 new cases on Wednesday with 2,023 deaths, taking total fatalities to 182,553. India has since the start of the pandemic recorded 15.6 million cases, the second highest behind the United States.
Newly reported cases have exceeded 200,000 each day for a week — with people being infected faster than they can be tested.
"This time, infection is spreading so fast that people are not getting time to get medicines. Many people are dying before we can get a test report," said Dr. S K Pandey of Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow, capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Many have blamed politicians for allowing super-spreader events such as mass gatherings to take place.
Columbus police officer fatally shoots girl swinging knife
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Columbus police shot and killed a teenage girl who swung at two other people with a knife Tuesday, according to bodycam footage from the officer who fired the shots just minutes before the verdict in George Floyd's killing was read.
Officials with the Columbus Division of Police showed a segment of the footage Tuesday night just hours after the shooting took place in a neighborhood on the city's east side. The decision to swiftly release the video was a departure from protocol as the force faces immense scrutiny from the public following a series of recent high-profile police killings that have led to clashes.
The 10-second clip begins with the officer getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the news conference. The officer takes a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when the girl, who was Black, starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. The officer shouts several times to get down.
The girl with the knife then charges at another girl or woman who is pinned against a car.
From a few feet away, with people on either side of him, the officer fires four shots, and the teen slumps to the ground. A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife or steak knife lies on the sidewalk next to her.
US Sikh community traumatized by yet another mass shooting
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ajeet Singh had to steel himself for a return to work at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis on Tuesday for the first time since a former employee shot dead eight people, including four members of Indianapolis' tightly knit Sikh community.
"I've been scared to go back," Singh said. "I don't know why this happened still. Was it random, or was it because of who I am?"
While the motive for last week's rampage remains under investigation, leaders and members of the Sikh community say they feel a collective trauma and believe more must be done to combat the bigotry, bias and violence they have suffered for decades in the country. Amid intense pain, they're channeling their grief into demands for gun reform and tougher hate crime statutes, and calls for outsiders to educate themselves about their Sikh neighbors.
"We are time and time again disproportionately facing senseless and often very targeted attacks," said Satjeet Kaur, executive director of the Sikh Coalition, a New York-based group that has urged investigators to examine bias as a possible motive in the shootings.
"The impact on the community is traumatic," she continued, "not just particularly the families that face the senseless violence, but also in the community at large because it's community trauma."
EU reaches major climate deal ahead of Biden climate summit
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union reached a tentative climate deal that is intended to make the 27-nation bloc climate-neutral by 2050, with member states and parliament agreeing on new carbon emissions targets on the eve of a virtual summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.
"Our political commitment to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment. The climate law sets the EU on a green path for a generation," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said early Wednesday.
Under the provisional deal reached after officials negotiated through the night, the EU will also commit itself to an intermediate target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
"It was high time for the agreement, as Europe has to show where it stands in view of the positive developments in the USA and China," said European Parliament member Peter Liese, the negotiator for the EPP Christian Democrat group.
The 2030 target had been 40 percent, but under the pressure of increasing evidence of climate change and a more environmentally conscious electorate, it was pushed up, although the EU legislature had wanted a higher target of 60 percent.
Super League collapses after the 6 English clubs withdraw
LONDON (AP) — The Super League collapsed before a ball was kicked in the European breakaway competition after being abandoned by the six English clubs, leaving the Spanish and Italian participants stranded.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham throughout Tuesday evening deserted the proposal to launch a largely-closed midweek competition amid an escalating backlash from their supporters and warnings from the British government that legislation could be introduced to thwart it.
The Super League project was overseen by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, who also signed up Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in Spain, and Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan from Italy. The rival for the UEFA-run Champions League became unviable without the six clubs from the world's richest league.
The remaining fledgling Super League organization was defiant, blaming "pressure" being applied for forcing out the English clubs and insisting the proposal complied with the law and could yet be revived in some form.
"Given the current circumstances," the Super League said in a statement, "we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community."