People hold a portrait of George Floyd during a rally following the verdict in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday. AFP
Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted on Tuesday of murdering African-American George Floyd after a racially charged trial seen as a pivotal test of police accountability in the United States.
The jury deliberated less than 11 hours before finding 45-year-old Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
A crowd gathered outside the heavily guarded downtown Minneapolis courtroom erupted in cheers, and some wept tears of relief, when the verdicts were announced after a three-week trial that had an entire nation on edge.
Chauvin, who had been free on bail, was put in handcuffs after Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read out the unanimous verdict reached by the racially diverse, seven-woman, five-man jury.
Wearing a face mask and displaying no visible emotion, Chauvin was escorted out of the courtroom by a deputy as one of Floyd's brothers, Philonise Floyd, embraced prosecutors.
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison on the most serious charge -- second-degree murder. His sentencing will take place in eight weeks, Judge Cahill said.
The 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force was seen on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd for more than nine minutes as he lay face down and handcuffed on the ground saying repeatedly "I can't breathe."
The 46-year-old Floyd's death during his May 25, 2020 arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality around the world.
Philonise Floyd (centre, left) and others raise their hands during a news conference in Minneapolis. AP
Ahead of the verdict, cities across the United States had been braced for potential unrest and National Guard troops have been deployed in Minneapolis.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listens as a jury finds him guilty.
On Tuesday evening, officers in the US state of Ohio released body camera footage of an officer shooting and killing a Black teenage girl who appeared to be threatening another person with a knife. Columbus police chief Michael Woods said he wanted to release the footage as quickly as possible.
George Floyd's brother Rodney told AFP that Black people in America had been victims of deadly injustice at the hands of the authorities for hundreds of years.
Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. File/AFP
"We needed a victory in this case, it's very important, and we got it and hey, we might actually breathe a little bit better now," he added.
President Joe Biden called members of the Floyd family to say he was "relieved" by the verdict, then later he and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the nation in televised remarks.
"This can be a giant step forward in the march towards justice in America," Biden said, as he called on citizens to "unite" against racism and violence.
Harris, America's first female and first Black vice president, told the family it was "a day of justice in America," and that "history will look back at this moment."
John Gardner, 64, was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing his fifth wife, who had left him after multiple incidents of physical violence and filed for divorce.
At the junction where a police officer was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air, there were shouts and cheers when it was announced the man had been charged with murder.
While Minneapolis chief of police Medaria Arradondo has been applauded for immediately firing the four officers involved in 46-year-old George Floyd’s death just over a week ago, questions about prosecutors’ choice to charge former officer Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder rather than a more serious charge continue to provoke outrage.
Fire officials say about 15 people were on the deck of a beach house on the 20500 block of Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday when it gave way, dropping them onto the large rocks below.
"As vaccine supply continues to improve and vaccination capacity gets enhanced in all federating units, we continue to expand the categories of those who are eligible to get vaccinated," Umar said on Twitter.
Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates have also congratulated Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, on the advent of Eid Al Fitr.