Issac Bailey: I'm relieved, but still in pain
I don't begrudge others who burst into celebration at the sound of "guilty" guilty" "guilty" in the case of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who slowly murdered George Floyd in broad daylight. I feel more relieved than anything else. Relieved that for a moment at least there was a bit of justice handed to the Floyd family, who had suffered too much. Relieved that the image of yet another police officer getting away with murder did not come to pass. Relieved that my worst fears did not materialize.
Hearing "guilty" allowed me to exhale. It did not rid me of my anguish, my pain.
Raul Reyes: There is hope this time
There is hope. There is relief. There is consolation -- all because George Floyd received the justice he deserved. Nothing less than Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all three counts would have been acceptable. Legal arguments aside, no reasonable person could have watched the video of Floyd's death and not have held Chauvin fully accountable for such a depraved killing.
As welcome as this outcome may be, there is still much more work to be done before our country lives up to its ideal that all Americans are equal before the law. Systemic racism still exists, and these verdicts are only one step in the right direction.
But this time, our justice system worked. The American people who marched in the streets during a pandemic should be proud that their activism had an impact. The prosecutors in the Chauvin trail should be commended for their outstanding, comprehensive presentations. The jurors should feel satisfied knowing they did the right thing while under tremendous pressure. And although nothing can bring Floyd back to his devastated family and community, at least today the world knows that his life mattered.
SE Cupp: One conversation with our kids that has a just ending
There are so many heartbreaking realities of modern life in America that we routinely have to explain to our children, but today, with a Minnesota jury's guilty verdicts, we can feel tremendous relief that we will not have to explain why justice was not done in the case of George Floyd. However, a guilty verdict on all three counts against Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes despite his compliance, is not a long-term solution to the problem of police brutality. Nor does it solve systemic racism. Not even close.
It will still be the challenge of our lifetimes to confront the enduring injustice of needless deaths like Floyd's, Sandra Bland's, Eric Garner's, and on and on. But the verdicts are nevertheless an important step toward healing, and hopefully, hearing -- hearing from a generation of communities that have waited, and waited, and waited for justice. Here's to one conversation with our kids that has a just, if not a happy ending. Hopefully it's just the start of another.
S.E. Cupp is a CNN political commentator
Cole Brown: True justice requires that George Floyd be alive
The jury returned a verdict that reflects what any reasonable person already knew: Derek Chauvin is a murderer. The system executed its most basic duty, punishing an obviously guilty man. Thank God.
After the emotional upheaval that attended this trial, the only emotion I have left for this moment is relief. I don't feel excitement, satisfaction, or hope because I know that this verdict doesn't reflect the truest definition of justice.
True justice prevents an American from dying over possession of a counterfeit bill. True justice forbids Derek Chauvin from kneeling on an American's neck and requires his colleagues to step in to halt the abuse. True justice requires that George Floyd live.
The Minneapolis community will now seek to heal after a traumatic ride that began nearly one year ago, despite the recent death of Daunte Wright salting its still open wounds.
Like many Americans, I will attempt the complicated balance of staying attuned to the fight for reform, without losing my sanity. One thing I know for certain: I will never watch that video again.
Jennifer Rodgers: Chauvin has avenues for appeal but his chances of success are slim
The jury has convicted Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. For now, justice has been done, but the defendant will likely appeal -- and there are some issues that we can be certain will be front and center when he does.
My sense is that none of these issues has a strong likelihood of success, given the strict instructions these jurors have been under to avoid all news coverage and the legal presumption that jurors follow their instructions. But they certainly will provide fodder for the defendant in making his arguments, and food for thought for the appellate court when considering a case that presents unique challenges in terms of media coverage and possible social pressures on the jurors.
Jennifer Rodgers is a former federal prosecutor, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law, Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, and a CNN legal analyst.
William Barber: The jury has done its job -- now we must do ours
Tuesday's guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin is an important public act of accountability. Before the entire nation, fellow officers took the stand in this trial and testified that their colleague did not protect and serve, but abused power and murdered George Floyd. We all saw and heard that.
Officers of the law are the only people to whom we give authority to come into our homes and take away our loved ones based on nothing but a piece of paper. They are the people we allow the power to prohibit our freedom of movement based on their own discretion. If we give them this power, we must also insist that they cannot abuse it without consequences. That is what this trial was about for all Americans.
We must meet this public act of justice and accountability with federal legislation that will hold officers of the law accountable in every state, and we must continue to work in every community to shift public investment from over-policing poor, Black and brown communities to ensuring restorative justice and equity for all people. The jury has done its job; now we must do ours.
The Rev. Dr. William Barber II is president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
Julian E. Zelizer: Justice was done. But more is needed.
With the Chauvin verdict, justice was achieved. Unlike so many cases that we have seen over the past few years—over the past few decades—a police officer was held accountable for causing the death of an African American. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is raising our national consciousness.
Policing reform, whatever form that takes, cannot be dealt with later. This issue needs to be at the center of our agenda right now. The goal is not to have trials that hold police accountable after the fact but to have a criminal justice system remade in a way that finally dismantles the effects of institutional racism. Until then, there will not be full justice for George Floyd.
Peniel Joseph: Guilty verdict shows progress -- but also means more change
This is a day to mourn the dead and take full stock of the dramatic political and moral transformation that will be necessary if we are ever to truly be able to guarantee Black citizenship and dignity.
Mark Osler: When the blue wall crumbled
With the murder conviction of Derek Chauvin, two very important things finally went right, and we ended up with a result that comported with what most Americans believe they saw in the street-side video of the killing of George Floyd.
Mark Osler is the Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas (MN), and a former federal prosecutor.