On Tuesday (20 April) afternoon, former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter following the death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
The jury’s verdict was reached just before The Late Show with Stephen Colbert began filming that day, with the presenter opening the episode by discussing the trial.
“After 10 hours of deliberation, a jury in Minneapolis decided that it’s illegal for the police to murder people. That Black lives matter,” Colbert said.
“It’s hard to celebrate because a man is still dead, but there is a sense of relief that at least this one injustice was not compounded with indifference. It could easily have gone the other way. No matter what you saw on that tape, this nation does not have a great track record on this subject.”
He continued: “At least in this case, this man faces accountability. But justice is a far more difficult goal.”
Explaining that Chauvin’s verdict didn’t change the US’s problems with “over-policing and systematic racism”, Colbert said: “But hopefully, this is a step toward a future where police being held accountable for their actions isn’t headline material and a hope that accountability today is a deterrent for tomorrow.”
He then addressed the protests that followed Floyd’s death last summer, adding that Chauvin’s imprisonment would be “just one stop” on the path to police accountability.
“There is more work to be done and it’s work that all of us should be committed to because, as Ben Crump – the Floyd family lawyer – reminded us today, justice for Black America is justice for all America,” he said.
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