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“Our Black community has been hurting a long time,” Irma Burns told me. In 2015, police killed her son, Jamar Clark, and authorities declined to bring charges against the two white officers involved. “What happened to George was just the latest tragedy.”
The trial and the tension climaxed Tuesday afternoon. An anxious hour passed after jurors finished deliberations and before Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict. People started to gather outside the courthouse as National Guard troops peered down from a balcony and wan sunshine filtered through the clouds.
Finally, at 4:07 p.M. Local time, a catharsis arrived. The jury had convicted Mr. Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. The streets, once moribund, bloomed with displays of euphoria and relief. People hugged and cried, laughed and danced, and for a few hours, at least, Minneapolis could exhale.
“This is some momentum”
I called State Rep. John Thompson about a half-hour after the verdict. He provided his reaction before I could speak. “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” he said. “That’s my slogan for the remainder of the week.”
Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, is comforted while Rep. John Thompson speaks in Minneapolis on April 16, 2021, during the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations news conference for families who were affected by fatal police shootings, as protests continue days after former police officer Kim Potter killed Daunte Wright in a nearby suburb.
Mr. Thompson, a Democrat whose district includes part of St. Paul, entered politics in reaction to the fatal police shooting of his friend, Philando Castile, in a nearby suburb in 2016. A jury acquitted the officer, and for Mr. Thompson, the Chauvin trial stirred memories of his last conversation with Mr. Castile.