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Erin Burnett Outfront
Chauvin Guilty On All Three Charges; Biden, Harris Speaking After Chauvin Found Guilty Of Murder; George Floyd's Brother: Today, We Are Able To Breathe Again; Biden, Harris Call Floyd's Family After Chauvin Found Guilty. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 20, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Our special coverage will continue, of course, throughout the night.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" picks it up right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And, good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, our breaking news coverage continues. The family of George Floyd just picking. His brother, with emotional words, today I can breathe again.
And I want to get straight to our Sara Sidner on the ground.
You know that she has been there every minute of the trial. She's joined now by George Floyd's brother, Philonise.
Sara, please take it away.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Thanks, Erin.
Philonise, you have been here throughout the trial. You have been in the court, which very few people have been in. What was it like for you today? Because you have seen so much in court, all of the bad things that happened to your brother. What was it like hearing from the jury today?
PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: It was a bit of relief. I actually paced back and forth before I even ran into the courtroom. I have faith, I believe in God. So I was optimistic, and I kept seeing, we will get justice, we will get it.
And just sitting there and just listening to those words, "guilty" and "guilty" and "guilty" on all counts, that was a moment that I will never be able to relive. I will always have in the side of me. It's just being able to know that it's justice for African-American people, just people of color, period, in this world.
This is monumental. This is historic. This is a pivotal moment in history. And all I can think about is Emmett Till. I think about Sandra Bland.
I think about Ms. Carr, Eric Garner, there's so many people. We have people being killed.
Daunte Wright. I think about Jacob Blake, I think about Philando Castile. All these people, they're all dead.
You got people who live near people, Pamela Turner, she's dead, that we all need justice. We're all fighting for one reason and it's justice for all. And I think, today has been an occasion where people can celebrate.
But tomorrow, it's back to business because we have to stay steps ahead of everything, and we'll keep pushing, and we'll keep pushing. And like Reverend Al say, we'll keep fighting.
SIDNER: You have been fighting for George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, I know.
In being in this trial and watching how it went, can you give me a sense of the absolute most difficult time for you as you watched this process happen and as you watched the trial in person? What was the hardest thing for you?
FLOYD: It was difficult just watching the video over and over and over again. I watched my brother being executed day after day after day, modern day lynchings. But sitting in that courtroom, I knew my Lord and Savior was in their. I knew George was in there. And they were just urging me to, George always said, never give up. He will constantly say, never get up.
But that day, when the officer had his knee on his neck, George had no choice but to give up, because he shot all of the oxygen off in his body. And my brother, man, he didn't deserve it.
But he has changed the world like his daughter said, Gianna. We are seeing his legacy forever all around the world, because if you can't make federal laws to protect a bird, which is the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color.
And it's just -- man, this is a day of victory. We're victorious and my family and I, we're going to go away, and we're going to pray. We're going to pray even more after this, because we owe it to one man, and that's Jesus.
And I can say it again, Jesus, Good God Almighty, thank you so much.
SIDNER: Thank you so much, Philonise, for talking to me and throughout a trial. And I know we had a moment that I felt a little awkward about because I called you, and I said, the verdict has come in.
SIDNER: When I called you and I said the verdict has come in, did you know already?
FLOYD: I didn't -- I didn't know at the time. And I was like -- started looking on social media and I was like, wow, it's really a verdict. And it's fast. This was less than 24 hours.
SIDNER: A little more than 10 hours.
FLOYD: Uh-huh. And it's just, just a great time. Still -- these (ph) men, women.
SIDNER: I know, he's been with you for all this time. And you've had people around you all of this time.
Will you finally get some sleep? Because you have been telling me for the past almost year that you just can't get an enough sleep, you can't go to bed. Why is that?
FLOYD: Justice. So many African-Americans, we never get justice. But today, I don't want any sleep. I want to celebrate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Celebrate. We celebrate. We celebrate.
FLOYD: It's like we won a championship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like we won a championship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't get to sleep but with still got to fight because we've got others that have died. So, we've got to -- Daunte Wright, we are on those missions right now.
So, we go to sleep, but we still got to work. And that's one of the things that we see, everybody running from the work. We don't just want the crown, we're carrying the cross.
FLOYD: He said it all.
SIDNER: Philonise, I thank you, and I'm sorry for your loss. Because I know this doesn't bring George back. But you have been asking for justice and you've got -- you've got the verdict you wanted, and the family did.
FLOYD: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SIDNER: Thank you. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
All right. Philonise Floyd talking to us about what it was like inside of that court. There were very few people that were in the court watching this happen. He was there many, many days.
And so, he just expressed how this has been for him -- hard. He always had faith, and that is why he is generally more calm than many other people. That is really interesting to note that as I talked to him throughout this year, he has always been the calm one. And I've been the nervous one, wondering what is going to happen -- Erin.
BURNETT: Yeah, I mean, you know, it's -- just so you know, Sara, that the president of the United States is going to be addressing the nation, speaking, in just a moment, here.
But you know, I know you've talked to Philonise so many times, and I know that he, he had prepared for many different outcomes here. But just to see the emotion that he feels, right? That he feels, was very powerful, and obviously, I can see that it was for you, too, as you were there, when it happened a year ago, and you've been there all the way through. I mean, what is this day like as a reporter covering this?
SIDNER: It's surreal. It is one of those things where there is an anticipation, where you are on tenterhooks. You are nervous, your insights don't know what to do because you can't control any of the situations that happened. You're waiting for the verdict along with everybody else.
And no matter what the verdict was going to be, it is our job to talk to the people and their reaction to that verdict, and I knew that deep down inside, all of the people that are here, all of the people who've been in George Floyd's Square, all of the people who've been fighting for this for a really long time, they were waiting for this verdict, and they were going to react. I mean, they told me, this place is going to go if we don't get justice. There will be no peace.
And so knowing that in the back of our heads as reporters, and knowing that that's the reality.
All right, the vice president just coming forward. So I will throw back to you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Sara, and of course, let's listen to the president and the vice president.
Here is Vice President Harris.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE) service.
And I want to thank Mr. Floyd's family for your steadfastness. Today, we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn't the same as equal justice.
This verdict brings us a step closer and the fact is we still have work to do. We still must reform the system.
Last summer, together with Senator Cory Booker and Representative Karen Bass, I introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
This bill would hold law enforcement accountable and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities. This bill is part of George Floyd's legacy.
The president and I will continue to urge the Senate to pass this legislation, not as a panacea for every problem, but as a start. This work is long overdue. America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans and black men in particular have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human.
Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbors.
Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our health care system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal justice system, in our nation. Full stop.
Because of smartphones, so many Americans have not seen the racial injustice that black Americans have known for generations. The racial injustice that we have fought for generations, that my parents protested in the 1960s, that millions of us, Americans of every race, protested last summer.
Here's the truth about racial injustice: it is not just a black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all. And it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential.
We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy. And our job now is to honor it and to honor him.
And now, it is my great honor to introduce the president of the United States, Joe Biden.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May.
It was a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the vice president just referred to, the systemic racism that's a stain on our nation's soul. The knee on the neck of justice for black Americans, profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that black and brown Americans experience every single day.
The murder of George Floyd launched a summer of protest we hadn't seen since the civil rights year in the '60s -- protests that unified people of every race and generation in peace and with purpose to say, enough, enough, enough of these senseless killings.
Today, today's verdict is a step forward. I just spoke with the governor of Minnesota, who thanked me for the close work with his team. And I also spoke with George Floyd's family again, remarkable family of extraordinary courage.
Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back. But this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America. Let's also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare. For so
many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors -- a brave young woman with a smartphone camera, a crowd that was traumatized, traumatized witnesses. A murder that lasts almost 10 minutes in broad daylight, for ultimately the whole world to see.
Officers standing up and testifying against their fellow officer instead of just closing ranks, who should be commended.
A jury who heard the evidence carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment, under extraordinary pressure.
For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver a just -- just basic accountability. We saw how traumatic and exhausting just watching the trial was for so many people.
Think about it, those of you who are listening, think about how traumatic it was for you. You weren't there. You didn't know any of the people.
But it was difficult, especially for the witnesses who had to relive that day. It's a trauma, on top of the fear so many people of color live with every day when they go to sleep at night, and pray for the safety of themselves and their loved ones.
Again, as we saw on this trial from the fellow police officers who testified, most men and women who wear the badge serve their communities honorably. But those few who failed to meet that standard must be held accountable and they were today, one was.
No one should be above the law, and today's verdict sends that message. But it's not enough. 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 us to ever happen and occur again. To ensure that black and brown people or anyone so they don't fear the interactions of law enforcement, that they don't have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life at the course anytime throughout the light.
They're not aware about whether their sons or daughters will come home after a grocery store run, or just walking down the street, or driving the car, playing in the park, or just sleeping at home. And this takes acknowledging and confronting head on systemic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and on our criminal justice system more broadly.
You know, state and local government and law enforcement needs to step up, so does the federal government. That's why I've appointed the leadership of the Justice Department that I have, that it's fully committed to restoring trust between law enforcement and the community they are sworn to serve and protect.
I have complete confidence in the attorney general, General Garland's leadership commitment.
I've also nominated two key Justice Department nominees, Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, who are eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who spent their entire careers fighting to advance racial equity and justice. Vanita and Kristen have the experience and the skill necessary to advance our administration's priorities to root out unconstitutional policing and reform our criminal justice system. And they deserve to be confirmed.
We also need Congress to act. George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago. There is meaningful police reform legislation in his name. We just heard the vice president speak of it, she helped write it. Legislation to tackle systemic misconduct in police departments, to restore trust between law enforcement and the people they're entrusted to serve and protect.
But it shouldn't take the whole year to get this done.
My conversations with the Floyd family, I spoke with him again today, I assure them we're going to continue to fight for the passage of George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, so we can -- I can sign the law as quickly as possible. There's more to do.
Finally, it's the work we do every day to change hearts and minds as well as laws and policies. That's the work we have to do, only then will full justice and full equality be delivered to all Americans. That's what I just discussed with the Floyd family.
The guilty verdict does not bring back George, but through the family's pain, they're finding purpose, so George -- George's legacy will not be just about his death but about what me must do in his memory.
I also spoke to Gianna, George's young daughter, again. When I met her yet last year, I've said this before at George's funeral, I told her how brave I thought she was. And I sort of knelt down to hold her hand, I said, daddy is looking down on you, so proud.
She said to me then, I never forget it: Daddy changed the world. I told her this afternoon, daddy did change the world. Let that be his legacy, a legacy of peace not violence, of justice.
Peaceful expression of that legacy are inevitable and appropriate, but violent protest is not. There are those who will seek to exploit the raw emotions of the moment, agitators and extremists who have no interest in social justice, who seek to carry out violence, destroy property, fanned the flames of hate and division, who do everything in the power to stop this country's march towards racial justice.
We can't let them succeed. This is a time for this country to come together, to unite as Americans. There can never be any safe harbor for hate in America.
I've said it many times -- the battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push and pull for more than 240 years. A tug of war between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart. At our best, the American ideal wins out.
So we can leave this moment or look away thinking or work is done. We have to look at it, we look as we did for those 9 minutes and 29 seconds. We have to listen, I can't breathe, I can't breathe.
Those were George Floyd's last words. 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.
We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country. It's my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy.
May God bless you, and may God bless George Floyd and his family.
Thank you for taking the time to be here. This can be a moment of significant change.
BURNETT: And you just heard President Biden, Vice President Harris address the nation, on the back of the verdict in the case of the death of George Floyd.
And, obviously, an emotional powerful delivery by both the president the vice president. The president talk about that moment when he spoke to George Floyd's daughter, Gianna, and said, you did -- your father did to change the world, part of the emotion that the president shared.
And I think it also is important to note that he did also point out, that this took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors for this guilty verdict to happen, making the point that there is still so much more to be done.
OUTFRONT now, Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP, and president of people for the American Way and Foundation. Stephanie Rawlings Blake, former defense attorney and mayor of Baltimore. And John Burris, criminal defense and civil rights attorney who also represented Rodney King. And staying with our continuing coverage, of course, Elie Honig, our legal analyst.
Ben, let me just start with you. You know, very powerful commentary from the vice president of course from President Biden. Derek Chauvin found guilty on all three counts.
But obviously a moment, a call to action from the president. But also I felt like a very significant point that he made, that he wanted to point out that he said this took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors. A jury that was under extraordinary pressure, it took all of that to return justice. You know, clearly making the point that there's a lot more to be done to show that this would be the norm and not the exception. BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY AND FOUNDATION:
No, that's absolutely right. I think we're lots of folks around the country, the question is what we need to do in our local areas to be safe, in our cities, in our counties.
In Minneapolis, the police union has been referred to as a white supremacist group by the AFL-CIO of Minnesota. What does that say about the state of the membership of the department, we know that in most departments were told that 10 percent of the officers according to criminologist are bad, have a serious problem, 10 or 15 percent are willing to stand up to them, 70 percent are silent.
What does that really say? Can you be truly good if you don't have the courage to police your fellow police officers? These are what we're all dealing, with the city county level across this country and why it's so important that we stay engaged.
BURNETT: Mayor Rawlings-Blake, what's your reaction to what you just heard from the vice president and the president with their emotional words, of course the call to action on the George Floyd legislation that we heard from President Biden as well.
But what's your reaction to their speech tonight? Did they meet the moment?
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), FORMER BALTIMORE MAYOR: I definitely think our vice president at the moment, it makes me so very grateful and made sure that we had a compassionate president in the White House. I just can't imagine what this moment would've been with our previous president.
And that being said, I don't want us to lose sight of something that the family said, something our president said. That we have to meet this moment with more than a verdict, it requires us to be vigilant, to make sure that the justice for policing act is passed in progress for Congress. And if it's not in the meantime, we need to be at city halls and statehouses across this country, pushing for police reform.
Justice has to be about more than a verdict, it has to be about showing up when the cameras aren't there, when there's no protests, and showing up and testifying, pushing elected officials to do more when it comes to police reform and forcing the police unions and police to have a response that meet the moment as well. We haven't heard from police officials.
BURNETT: No. And, you know, John, to the point that President Biden made, right? That it took a unique an extraordinary convergence of factors, including the jury under extraordinary pressure to return this verdict, then took all of that to return justice, right? That he is raising the point that there is a lot more to be done here.
You have felt this in your career, disappointed in the case of Rodney King, the case of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a police officer who said he mistook his gun for a Taser. You know, you said at the beginning of this trial, it would be hard to convict, yet it did take them only 10 hours and they did convict on all three charges. So what is your reaction now, when you hear this verdict?
JOHN BURRIS, REPRESENTED RODNEY KING AND THE FAMILY OF OSCAR GRANT: Well, I'm quite relieved for the verdict. As I listen to the evidence, I was pretty certain that there's plenty enough evidence. But what I was concerned about at the time was the fact that the defense would demonize George, in which they try to do when they talked about a lot of his personal life and that was an effort to demonize him and that's what happens in a lot of playbooks. So, that was my concern about this case.
But I will -- let me say this. This case is a culmination of a lot of cases that have taken place over the last 30 years, since Rodney King. There have been a lot of video cameras taken place, all of this has been helpful and getting to this point. We had a very diverse jury, this is the first time that's ever happened. And we have prosecuted police officers all on the same page.
So there's progress in that sense, whether it carries over the next case, and the next case, who knows? But I do think like others have said it is opportunity for all of us to work together. You've got to have an agenda, we've got to meet people where they are, and you got to continue to put pressure on the public officials and the police chief, all the commands.
It can happen at stake in this unfair to occur, but it's going to continue if we continue to work and push for it to occur. So, I'm happy about the results.
BURNETT: So, you know, Elie, as I mentioned, right, jurors came to this verdict after just about 10 hours of deliberations. They did not ask the judge a single question. It would seem that they were very quickly on the same page, you know?
But how did -- what did you read into that? Into the 10 hours, into not asking a question, would you think still it for the jury?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Erin, this tells me to the jury did their job. The prosecution put on a straightforward compelling powerful case. I think this is an important moment to appreciate, the power of the jury in our system.
Don Lemon said earlier, we are a symbol of democracy for the world. Indeed the world was watching, to me the greatest symbol of our democracy is not the Capitol building, it's not the White House, it's the jury.
We don't do expert juries in this country. We don't do professional juries in this country. Our juries are drawn from every women and men who get that notice in the mail, they come in and do their job. To me, that is the most fundamental aspect of our democracy, and we saw that in action today.
BURNETT: All right, all of you please stay with me because I want to talk to you much more. But, obviously, the reaction here in Minneapolis, across this country,
people are reacting to this verdict, you heard this people say as the progresses, you see cheers, hugs, prayers and relief and, of course, we are seeing that build at this hour.
Miguel Marquez was there when the news broke, he is OUTFRONT now where the third police precinct was, that was burned down during protests over the summer.
You see obviously the peaceful crowd celebrating, Miguel, where you are. You've been talking to some of them. Tell me what you're seeing what's happening?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, look, everybody we spoke to before the verdict came down thought it would be guilty on all charges. To hear it though, this city erupted into elation.
Let me just show you what it looks like right now in front of the temporary third precinct in downtown Minneapolis. There's a massive crowd that has gathered. It's everybody. It is African-American. It is whites. It is indigenous people. It is Asians. It is Latinos. Just a massive, massive crowd out here.
But there was one moment, there was a young man who was announcing the verdicts on a bullhorn as the verdict came down and I want to show you his reaction when he read the third protocol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black lives they matter here.
CROWD: Black lives they matter here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody in the city that's been fighting, this is a moment in American history. Let's just keep fighting, you guys. We can make a change.
MARQUEZ: (Inaudible) brought you to tears.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. This is so hard. This has been so hard for everybody. Everybody's been fighting and everybody wants this to happen and it happened. This is a moment for us and I'm so grateful and thankful. Thank you, God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: That level of shock, that level of disbelief that this actually happened, people here really believing that this is a step forward that we're not sure where it's all going, but you can see the hope in the crowd here tonight is that this is a step in the right direction and not just for George Floyd and not just for those extreme cases, but for justice across the board and for those everyday transactions between law enforcement and African-Americans and people of color, everywhere across this country.
This case, it sent shivers through every spine in this city and probably a lot across the country as well, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, interesting, amazing, as you say. They all expected that they believed it would happen, but yet we're still shocked and so visibly and emotionally moved when they actually heard it.
We're going to go back to Miguel, but I want to just go back into that room, the people who were actually in the room, as this was read by the judge, the jury is there. We have new details at what happened off camera and inside that courtroom.
And again, just to make sure you all understand, the 12 men and women on that jury took just 10 hours to reach their verdict. They found former Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder.
That has a prison sentence of quite a range 12 and a half to 40 years. Also guilty of third-degree murder, a prison sentence. They're also 12 and a half to up to 25 years. And guilty of second-degree manslaughter, the sentence there between four and 10 years or $20,000.
Josh Campbell is OUTFRONT in Minneapolis tonight. And Josh, you were actually there. You were inside the courtroom when this happened. Jury returns, everyone is silent. This is a moment that the whole world is watching and you were there. So tell me about it and tell me what happened off camera that - we only saw Derek Chauvin's response. You saw so much more, tell me.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin. I mean, I'll say at the outset that I don't consider myself someone hyperbolic or dramatic. I cannot remember being in a room, ever, where the tension was so palpable. And, of course, as a reporter, my job was to get reflections and to focus on everyone else.
Nearly everyone in that room was exhibiting some kind of physical sign that they knew how serious this moment was. At the defense table, Chauvin sat there with his attorney, Nelson. No notes on their desk, no binders, everything empty, sitting there very, very still.
At one point, Chauvin was actually looking down and just dazed off. His attorney started talking to him and it was almost like there wasn't anyone sitting next to him. He was just staring and then snapped out of it. Finally realizing his attorney was talking to him.
I was just wondering what was going through his mind at that moment. This was before that verdict was read. For their part, the jury completely still no emotion, no physical response from them after that was read. I don't know if that was something they discussed in advance, because as we've covered this trial, each of them have been a very idiosyncratic in their own way, but they were all still, all calm just watching the verdict. There was emotion and there was agitation and anxiety, I would say, at the prosecution table, especially on the part of Steve Schleicher, who was, of course, the defense attorney we heard on the morning of closing arguments. He was perhaps the most nervous person I saw in that courtroom looking around, darting around, fidgeting, no doubt that anxiety waiting to hear what was to take place.
But I have to tell you that perhaps the most moving moment that I experienced inside watching came from seeing Philonise Floyd who was in the seat for the Floyd family. He spent nearly the entire hearing in prayer, and I would look back and he would be in prayer, except for when he was staring at Derek Chauvin across the room. He sat there in prayer.
And just to tell you when that moment came when the verdict was read on all three of those counts, he sat with his head covering his face in a stapled fashion in prayer.
And as each was read guilty, guilty, guilty his hands were just shaking uncontrollably. And I can tell you, I caught up with him right after that moment, after the verdict was read. And I asked him, I said, what were you praying for everyone in the room could see that he was the only person in that room who was not paying attention with his eyes on what was taking place, just sitting there in prayer.
He said to me I was praying that they would find him guilty. And Erin, he said, as an African-American, we usually never get justice. And just right after that conversation, his attorney Ben Crump came over and said, we have a phone call, it's President Biden.
And I stood there listening to that phone call take place between the Floyd family and the President as well as the Vice President with President Biden consoling the family, telling them how proud he was of that family for all that they've been doing in pursuit of justice. And he said that something which I - if you go back to George Floyd's daughter, Gianna, the President brought her name up and said, I can't stop thinking about that line that is going to change the world and he said that it is.
And just the last thing I want to say which this is just kind of brings us all home, that was all the prosecution, that was the family. The other major moment was seeing an officer walk up to Derek Chauvin afterwards, when he was remanded into custody and saying, Mr. Chauvin, please place your hands behind your back. The left cuff went on, the right cuff went on. He was taken away.
Someone who used to work in this criminal justice system found guilty by the colleagues that he used to work with after this murder, Erin.
BURNETT: So Josh, can I just ask you this, we just showed that moment and I found that moment particularly powerful and poignant. What happened in the room? Everybody's reaction to that moment and Chauvin himself reaction obviously with the cameras were on him, we saw as viewers, no emotion. He was stoic throughout it, but tell me did you see anything different and what did you see from others in the room at that moment?
CAMPBELL: Yes. The only reaction that I saw, I think everyone was either in some state of shock or finally we had this resolution on what that verdict would be. But two people who were really showing emotion; Philonise Floyd, he went from prayer to crying. Afterwards the prosecution once the Judge had departed the room, they were giving each other hugs. They were giving Philonise hugs.
And back to Steve Schleicher, that prosecutor he could not keep it together. His eyes were turning red. He was standing right next to me wiping away tears from his eyes as he sat there or stood there rather hugging Philonise Floyd, so just incredible emotion in that moment.
And then it was over just as quickly as that as the criminal justice system works. Sometimes the wheels turn slowly. Here, we got a verdict today and that trial ended. Of course, we now know what the resolution was in this trial, Erin.
BURNETT: So Josh, thank you so much for taking us into that room, because it does add so much because we only have the camera views that we had, if any of you, of course, many of you, I'm sure, who are watching now we're watching. But even if you just saw moments like the ones we just played with the handcuffing of Derek Chauvin.
Everyone back with me. Elie, let me just give you a chance to react to Josh's reporting, because I know you've been in so many of these courtrooms, that his perspective as a reporter and also, of course, formerly law enforcement himself, never been in a room with so much palpable tension as in that room.
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Josh paints such a vivid picture and it's a reminder of just how solemn that moment is when a jury renders its verdict, an individual's liberty is at stake. The sanctity of our system is at stake and most importantly, the victim's family is there. That's all the victim's family has.
I've done murder cases. Of course, you can never undo what's been done. You can never bring their loved one back. This is all they have. The hope of getting justice and accountability from a trial jury of everyday citizens and I think that's what Josh saw today in that courtroom.
BURNETT: Ben, one thing that this all happened, of course, the original report was that someone had died because of a medical condition while in police custody. And the reason that we know that this was different was because of bystander video, a 17-year-old girl, Darnella Frazier. She filmed the nine minutes and 29 seconds that Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground. She posted it to social media.
So that's how we know about this. And Vice President Harris, she brings it up tonight. This is all because of smartphones. I raised the point, though, that we've had smartphones for quite some time and we've had a lot of videos for quite some time. But this is the only time that this has ended this way and that, of course, is significant.
BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY AND FOUNDATION: No, it truly is. And you think about all of the movements that had to be built in order for this moment to happen. All of the activists in the street, Keith Ellison running for office because becoming the first black chief prosecutor of the state and yet it shouldn't take all of that.
And we won't be done in our work. We have to see this as a beginning, not an end, until George Floyd's daughter can, with confidence, know that she will be safe throughout her entire life in a way that her father was not able to be because the very people who have sworn to protect his life took it from him.
And so that's why it's so important that we stay in the streets, that we keep organizing and that we make sure that we actually don't just try what we've tried before and that one has failed, but actually we have the courage to try new things.
BURNETT: Mayor Rawlings-Blake, also anyone watching here you can see on my screen outside the third precinct in Minneapolis, a peaceful crowd gathered. They're celebrating. They're happy. We're seeing that across the country and that's important and that's significant.
It also stood out to me that President Biden, even in the face of knowing that the crowds on the streets are happy with this, took the point to say that violence is not welcome, that there could be agitators and extremists who would destroy property and loot and that was not welcome.
I thought it was significant that he made a point of saying that, even in light of the fact that obviously what we're seeing tonight and thus far is, of course, peaceful crowds celebrating an incredible moment.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think it's important for him to say that because the voice of the community that is impacted by the looting and the violent protests are often unheard. Because we understand the frustration of our community dealing with injustice, I think many of us turn a blind eye to the impact it has, when businesses closed because they've been looted, because they've been destroyed and many of them don't come back.
And that's something that we cannot forget because that is a community that has been doubly impacted by the violence in their community.
BURNETT: John, let me just ask you about the sentencing here and I had briefly laid out some of the ranges that in Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the presumptive sentence for both second-degree and third- degree murder is 12 and a half years. You could get 10 years, you could get up to four, I'm sorry, four years for manslaughter. This can all be served concurrently.
But there's something called you can get a tougher sentence if there's aggravating factors. Derek Chauvin waived the right for the jury to decide if there were aggravating factors such as George Floyd, for example, being especially vulnerable. Put that on the judge who now has to decide that and therefore if he says there are aggravating factors could provide a sentencing in the case, obviously, of the most severe charge here of up to 40 years.
BURNETT: So when you look at the sentencing guidelines, what do you think happens here? This is now all on a judge, because the range here of 12 and a half to 40 years in just the most egregious charge is a huge range and it's now all on the judge.
BURRIS: The Judge actually then - how he felt about this case is hard to say, because I thought he did a pretty decent job on being unbiased and making fair rulings. But he himself, I'm certain, will be motivated by the Officer's conduct and the way he dealt with George Floyd in terms of his disinterested in trying to providing care, his paid attorney moment, the judge could find these are aggravating factors and could in fact increase the sentence. I suspected he will.
Now, all of these sentences can run concurrently, which means the most you're going to get is whatever that would be, that may be 12 except the aggravation. I could easily see in that being five to 10 years more and getting this up in a 20-year range. That is an option that a judge has here and the aggravation is pretty strong there.
The other aggravating factor might be the fact that he has what his record is. We don't know what is record is as a police officer. We understand he got a lot of complaints. It seems to me those could be aggravating factors as well, even though they weren't brought into court.
But there are conditions and like they do in other cases, you look to see what a person's background is, who was that person, what were they doing. You can't necessarily use them as evidence factually. But you can, in fact, incorporate them into your thinking if you want to aggravate the case.
So I hope that he does, because I think the community would not be satisfied if he got a modest sentence, even if it's just 12 years in light of the fact that the murder itself was so outrageous and so I would think that the general population and the Judge himself would want to increase it. Remember this, the FBI when tried to get a sentence for 10 years that the FBI through then Attorney General said no, that wasn't enough.
So 10 years wasn't enough, then 12 years is not going to be enough now. So I can see where - and should be increased significantly as regard of the aggravating factors.
BURNETT: All right. John, thank you and thanks to all.
And across the country right now, as we've been showing, of course, you're seeing Minneapolis up on my screen.
But people are gathering to mark this moment. Oscar Jimenez is also OUTFRONT in Minneapolis. But he is -- Omar Jimenez, I'm sorry, from Minneapolis live outside the Cup Foods store where Chauvin took Floyd's life. And Omar, I know you've talked to a lot of people who are inside - that were inside the store on that day and there's a crowd there tonight. What are people telling you and what are you hearing behind you?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, frankly, they look at this as a new day in America for people here. And when you pan around to the crowd, this is the intersection where some of George Floyd's final moments played out and it's amazing when you contrast that, that his body was under the knee of Derek Chauvin a little less than a year ago and now a little less than a year later, this is his support.
This is his legacy on this day where that police officer was convicted on all charges and it became a convicted murderer, a conclusion that many people here felt they already knew before the verdict was even read.
Hundreds have shown up to this scene and one of the men we spoke to earlier today, he broke down in tears as he reacted or saw the news. And he said that his mind before that verdict was read went back to Rodney King. Because he said in that case, we saw what happened and the officers got off. And so when that verdict was read, he completely could not believe it and broke down in tears and described it as a new day in America.
And I want to actually keep the camera over here toward where the makeshift memorial actually is for George Floyd because in this sea of people was actually the final resting place in many ways of George Floyd under the knee of Derek Chauvin. And one thing to note in this is Darnella Frazier was the 17-year-old who pushed record on that video on her cell phone video and uploaded it to social media and was the spark, the messenger for the world to pay attention to what happened at this intersection.
It's wild to believe that if she had not pressed record on that cell phone video, you questioned where this case would even be. And many of the people that we spoke to earlier that have been protesting in these streets for nearly a year now say they're not even confident that the prosecution would have been as succinct as it was, if not for the pressure of the people trying to make sure that these officers, not just Chauvin, are held accountable or at least would be held accountable.
And what we've heard, we're hearing stories right now coming from various speakers that have come up, but one message has struck through all of this. While they feel this is a victory, they also feel that the work is not done here.
One of the persisting chance that we've heard is one down three to go. Of course, referring to officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane who still faced charges in this case. But seeing right now, again, the verdict of all guilty for Derek Chauvin is a site that many here have wanted to see for a long time and this feels like a day of vindication almost a year after George Floyd's death right where I'm standing right now, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Omar, thank you very much. And just minutes ago, George Floyd's brother are getting very emotional as he compared his tragic death to another horrifying murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: It's been a long journey and it had been less than a year and the person that comes to my mind is 1955. And to me, he was the first George Floyd. That was Emmett Till.
I did a - I was on CNN with Deborah Watts and she just brought him back to life. People forgot about him, but he was the first George Floyd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He was the first George Floyd. Well, the woman that Philonise just mentioned, Deborah Watts, is with me now. And Deborah, obviously, you're the cousin of Emmett Till, who's 14 years old when he was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 as Philonise just said, murder by two white men who were acquitted by an all white jury, but later admitted that they were guilty.
The late John Lewis also called Emmett Till his George Floyd. I know you met Philonise Floyd while protesting George Floyd's death and you've been with him throughout the trial.
And I saw your incredible moment when you were talking with Philonise and our Sara Sidner and just this emotional connection and she said to me that she and her crew left after the interview and then they came back to get something 40 minutes later, you're still talking and that you were still talking, you were still together. What is your reaction today to the verdict that Derek Chauvin found guilty on all three counts?
DEBORAH WATTS, COUSIN OF EMMETT TILL: My reaction, I'm static. I knew this would happen. I knew it. I knew that they would get it right. I am happy for the family. I'm happy for our country. But I do know that the work is not done. We still have a lot more work to do to get justice for others as well. But I am so pleased, I'm so grateful for the jury, to the judge who will hopefully do the right thing here.
They got it right and I'm so happy for the Floyd family because this is a moment, it's a watershed moment in our country. And it's a moment that we can shout victory and justice did prevail in this case. And I just know that we can begin to exhale, but only for a little moment because we have more work to do.
We have to turn things around in this country. We have to make things right. We have to stop the murder of black and brown bodies. And I'll tell you, we're still hoping for justice for Emmett Till as well.
And we're still going to pursue that courageously and we are determined to make sure that we right the wrongs of the past, and that we pursue policies and laws that need to be turned around that need to be changed in this country. But then also that we hold Dewayne Richardson in Mississippi, we hold him to the highest level that he has the responsibility to bring justice to Emmitt's case.
But I am just a static for the Floyd family and for all of those that work so hard, the prosecution team and others, our community that spoke out, the frontline, people in the protesters, I just hold them in my heart and lift them up in prayer that they were all collectively a part of, I think, this victory as well.
BURNETT: So President Biden today brought up talking to the Floyd family and to George Floyd's daughter. And I know that he called Philonise Floyd right after the verdict was read. And our reporter was actually talking about how he's in the room and Philonise was reacting to the reading of the counts of guilty with his hands sort of in a steeple in front of him and sort of shaking uncontrollably.
And then the verdict comes and Philonise's phone rings and it's President Biden. So I just want to play a bit of that call for you, Deborah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the President.
FLOYD: (Inaudible), hello. Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said how is Gianna doing.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'm feeling better now and nothing is going to make it all better but at least now there's some justice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BIDEN: And I think (inaudible) Gianna's coming, my dad is going to change the world. He's going to start to change them now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
BIDEN: (Inaudible) to change it now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BIDEN: So you've been incredible. You're an incredible family. I wish I were there to (inaudible) around you. I'm standing here (inaudible) we've been talking and we were watching every second of this and the Vice President, all of us, and - just - we're all (inaudible) not just one but in all three, clearly on all three charge and I think it's really important.
I'm anxious to see you guys. I really am. We're going to get a lot done. We're going to get (inaudible), we're going to do a lot. We're going to (inaudible) it till we get it done.
FLOYD: Hopefully, this is the momentum for the George Floyd justice and policing act to get past to have you sign.
BIDEN: You got it, pal. That and a lot more. Not just that and a lot more.
FLOYD: Thank you, Mr. President.
BIDEN: (Inaudible) dealing with (inaudible) systemic racism ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Deborah, the call happening there, the President calls. It's on speaker. He knows people are listening. What does it mean to you and say to you that President Biden called. We heard 90 seconds of it there, but he called and what he had to say to Philonise Floyd.
WATTS: I think it's important. President has, I think, demonstrated extreme leadership there. Compassion, empathy and understanding, also it sounds like he's willing to take on a responsibility to push things forward in our country. And I am hopeful that he is going to be a person of his word. We have several bills that need to be a priority right now and the George Floyd policing act, also anti-lynching, HR55.
Also there is a - I'm hoping for a victims of racially motivated murder act that we've been trying to push that helps to relieve some of the trauma that families are experiencing.
You know there's about 150 families that are on the Department of Justice, Emmett Louis Till victims or civil rights civil rights crimes act, and they have not received justice. So there's a lot of work to do. I'm just excited for the Floyd family. I am hopeful that our President, our Vice President will take and the Department of Justice will take this on as a way to push things forward in our country, because change must come. It must come immediately.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Deborah, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
WATTS: Thank you. Thank you so much.
BURNETT: And President Biden, of course, moments ago, you heard him live saying the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial sent a clear message to law enforcement across the country with the verdict tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Most men and women who wear the badge serve their communities honorably. But those few who fail to meet that standard must be held accountable and they were today. One was. No one should be above the law, and today's verdict sends that message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Patrick Yoes. He is the National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police union.
So let me just ask you, your organization tonight called the trial fair. Said the system of justice has worked as it should. Do you believe the jury got it right in the case of Derek Chauvin with the guilty on all three counts?
PATRICK YOES, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: Well, I can tell you that as a law enforcement officer, we were probably one of the first organizations that stepped forward and said, this just doesn't look right and we knew that and we had full faith in the criminal justice system.
There was a there was a trial and in the trial all of the evidence was put forth and now we have a verdict. And now we can go one step closer to getting past this very dark day in American history. We're very much committed in having these open dialogues and finding a path forward so we can have a better criminal justice system.
BURNETT: So President Biden, obviously, says the verdict sends a message, no one should be above the law. So what message do you think this verdict sends two police officers across the country tonight who like every other American were watching this trial and, of course, their case on tenterhooks not knowing what they would be seeing tonight, but what's the message that they get from this?
YOES: Well, I think we need to recognize one thing and that is there about 800,000 men and women who put on uniform every day and go out and protect their communities.
BURNETT: Yes. And this doesn't define the actions of the men and women who've dedicated their life to the protection of their community. So I think all of us in law enforcement very much recognize that there are consequences to our actions and we have faith in the criminal justice system. In his case, the system, the trial took place, all the evidence which was presented to jury appears made a finding.
And I think all of us in law enforcement respect that. That's the world we live in.
BURNETT: It is. Now, let me just ask you because, obviously, part of the problem here that exists right is distrust that exists between some Americans and some police. Our own Omar Jimenez tweeted out tonight a copy of the initial statement from the Minneapolis Police Department upon Floyd's death that I think makes this point, because the title is quote, man dies after medical incident during police interaction.
It says Floyd physically resisted officers. It says that the officers noted he was suffering medical distress and called for an ambulance. Man dies in medical incident during police interaction is not what happened and it's obviously not what we all then saw on video. So what do you make of that?
That's what the world might have thought if it weren't for the video that came out, the nine minutes and 29 seconds of Derek Chauvin's knee on George Floyd's neck. Does that concern you that a statement like that could have stood as the record?
YOES: Well, I mean, look it absolutely concerns me and you bring up a very good point and that is that the powers that a law enforcement agency has in communities all across this country is directly related to the trust we have within our communities. And if we can take nothing away from this, it is clear that we have a lot of work to do as a free society to come to terms with a lot of issues.
And it's going to take us sit at a table having some fact base and meaningful discussions in order to be able to get past this.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Patrick, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
YOES: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all of you for joining us as our breaking news coverage continues here on CNN. Let's hand it off now to Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. This is what justice looks like tonight around the country and on the corner where George Floyd was killed, was murdered by a former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin almost a year ago.
And this is how it looked and sounded as Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: We, the jury, in the above entitled manner has to count, one, unintentional second ...