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New federal action and greater calls for change follow Chauvin trial, conviction

A Minneapolis jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday, setting off new calls to reform policing — and new federal action from the Justice Department. John Yang reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The conviction of a white former police officer for killing George Floyd is still echoing tonight.

    A Minneapolis jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday. It has brought new calls to reform policing and new federal action.

    John Yang reports.

  • John Yang:

    Less than 24 hours after Derek Chauvin was convicted, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the government was reviewing the Minneapolis police.

  • Merrick Garland:

    That the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing.

  • John Yang:

    The inquiry could lead to a court-supervised agreement to force changes in the department, a practice sharply limited during the Trump administration.

    Both Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and the City Council welcomed today's announcement. The council called for the Justice Department to use its full authority to hold the police accountable.

    Across the city Tuesday, jubilation when the guilty verdicts were announced.

  • Man:

    Guilty, all three! Guilty, all three! Guilty, all three!

  • John Yang:

    Minneapolis resident David Gholar:

  • David Gholar:

    It was a big thing when we got that gratification, not necessarily saying that that eases the pain of the Floyd family, but it does give a little bit of gratification.

  • John Yang:

    Today, a leading racial justice activist in Minneapolis said, despite the verdict, there's still much to be done.

  • Nekima Levy Armstrong:

    We don't need more reports. We don't need more business as usual. We need tangible action steps that lead to tangible outcomes that will make Black people, indigenous people, Hmong people, Latinx people who live in the Twin Cities feel safe.

  • John Yang:

    In his remarks after the verdict, President Biden also called for more action.

  • Pres. Joe Biden:

    We can't stop here. In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen and occur again.

  • John Yang:

    But there were fresh incidents across the country.

    Minutes before the Chauvin verdict was delivered, police in Columbus, Ohio, shot and killed a Black 16-year-old girl who was holding a knife. Authorities released body-camera video, which appeared to show the girl lunging at another woman before police fired. The killing sent hundreds of people into the streets of Columbus to protest.

    And, today, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a sheriff's deputy fatally shot a man as officers sought to execute a search warrant. Local reports said officers fired as the man tried to drive away. On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged colleagues to address policing nationwide by passing a bill named for George Floyd.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer:

    We must remain diligent in our efforts to bring meaningful change to police departments across the country, to reform practices and training, and the legal protections that grant too great a shield to police officers guilty of misconduct.

  • John Yang:

    Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the verdict shouldn't be used to condemn all police.

  • Sen. John Kennedy:

    When a radical jihadist who happens to be a Muslim blows up a school full of schoolchildren, we're told not to judge the acts of all Muslims by the acts of a few. And I agree with that. How come the same rule doesn't apply to police officers?

  • John Yang:

    Derek Chauvin, the former police officer now behind bars as a convicted murderer, will be sentenced in two months. The most serious charge, second-degree murder, carries a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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