The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has hailed the guilty verdict issued against Derek Chauvin in the murder trial for George Floyd.
“This is a momentous verdict,” said Bachelet, who also acknowledged the perseverance of Floyd’s family in the quest for justice.
“As the jury recognised, the evidence in this case was crystal clear. Any other result would have been a travesty of justice.”
Chauvin was filmed pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck after handcuffing him, pinning him to the ground as he pleaded “I can’t breathe. The video was uploaded on social media and went viral soon after.
Floyd’s subsequent death caused widespread anger against police brutality as calls rang out for justice and for all four police officers at the scene to be held accountable. After days of protests – some violent – 44-year-old Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and negligent manslaughter.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after three weeks of testimony.
Other leaders have also hailed the verdict, including U.S. President Joe Biden who said it was “a step forward on the march towards justice in America.”
Bachelet in her statement also called for further action to uproot the causes of discrimination.
“The entrenched legacy of discriminatory policies and systems, including the legacies of enslavement and transatlantic trade and the impact of colonialism, must be decisively uprooted in order to achieve racial justice and equality,” she said. “If they are not, the verdict in this case will just be a passing moment when the stars aligned for justice, rather than a true turning point.”