CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - The brother of Walter Scott, the man fatally shot by a former North Charleston Police officer in 2015, praised guilty verdicts against a former police officer convicted in the death of a Minnesota man.
After hearing the third of three guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin, Anthony Scott said, “Thank God, Thank God, Thank God.”
“That’s what we needed to see,” Scott said. “And hopefully we’ll see the changes in America that we need to see. We got to see changes now.”
A jury convicted Chauvin of murder and manslaughter Tuesday afternoon. Floyd’s death and cellphone video of the incident showing Chauvin pinning Floyd down with his knee on Floyd’s neck, triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
The jury deliberated about 10 hours over two days in a city on edge against another outbreak of unrest.
“This is a victory. This is not justice, this is just a victory,” Scott said. Scott said there are so many who have suffered and are not getting any justice at all.
Scott’s brother, Walter Scott, was fatally shot by former North Charleston Police officer Michael Slager on April 4, 2015. Slager is serving a 20-year prison term in connection with Scott’s death, which was also recorded on a cell phone by a passerby.
Of Tuesday’s verdict against Chauvin, Scott said it was the same verdict that should have come in Charleston against Slager.
“Maybe then we would not have had to go through George Floyd,” he said.
Chauvin has not yet been sentenced but faces up to 40 years in prison on one of the charges. Scott says he hopes he receives no leniency.
“And then, when these officers start seeing this happening across America, then we will be able to see a change in America, which will be this stopping and ceasing,” he said. “[Police officers] will think twice about pulling that trigger on an unarmed man that’s holding a cell phone or a sandwich or a bag of Skittles, or drinking iced tea.”
Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death. The case came down to two key questions: Did Chauvin cause Floyd’s death and were his actions reasonable? Each charge required a different element of proof as to Chauvin’s state of mind.
The verdict set off jubilation around Minneapolis. People instantly flooded the surrounding streets downtown, running through traffic with banners. Cars blared their horns. Floyd family members who had gathered at a Minneapolis conference room could be heard cheering.
President Joe Biden said late Tuesday that George Floyd’s death was “a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off” for all the world to see the problems with race and policing in the U.S.
At a joyous family news conference, Floyd’s brother, Philonise, said he’s been getting messages from around the world. He told reporters that “they’re all saying the same thing: ‘We won’t be able to breathe until you’re able to breathe.’ Today, we are able to breathe again.”
Floyd’s brother, Terrence, said: “History is here. This is monumental. What a day to be a Floyd, man.”
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the chamber’s only Black Republican, says he is thankful for a verdict that shows “our justice system continues to become more just.”