Celebrities from across the globe have welcomed a guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd.
The former Minneapolis police officer, 45, was convicted by a jury of killing the 46-year-old during the arrest last May.
Floyd had desperately told the officer dozens of times that he was unable to breathe as the officer knelt on his neck following his arrest for allegedly using a fake $20 note at a grocery store.
His death in Minneapolis sparked a wave of Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
Chauvin had denied all charges against him, including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
However, there were scenes of jubilation when Chauvin was found guilty of all charges by the jury who returned the verdict on Tuesday.
Among the celebrities praising the outcome was Oprah Winfrey who revealed she had been brought to tears by the verdict.
The presenter wrote on Instagram : “Relieved – and emotional in ways I didn’t expect. I cried tears of joy as each verdict was read. I’m grateful to the witnesses and their testimonies.”
She also said she was “grateful to Darnella Frazier,” the teenager who filmed the incident.
She added: “Grateful to every Juror for seeing and acknowledging what the world saw on that tape. Thank you God for real!”
The Obamas also released a statement following the verdict.
In it they insisted that the jury “did the right thing”.
The pair called for “concrete reforms in policing in the joint statement and appealed for the elimination of racial bias from the nation’s criminal justice system.
The statement added: “Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.”
He wrote: “JUSTICE for George! The emotions I feel right now are hard to describe. Derek Chauvin has been found guilty. This is the first time that a white officer has been convicted for killing a black man in Minnesota.
“This is monumental, George’s death is not in vein.”
He added: “But this is just one step on the path towards a more equal society. Since George’s death, so many other Black people have died at the hands of the police and we must ensure the momentum of today continues.
“The fight isn’t over, and there is more to be done.”
Many other celebrities voiced their satisfaction at the verdict too.
Singer Mariah Carey tweeted “Hallelujah!!!!!!!!” after hearing the news. She added: “A beginning.. a small grain of hope for our future.”
Actress Whoopi Goldberg also took to Twitter, writing: “Guilty Guilty Guilty… No one wins.. George Floyd is still gone..and finally someone was responsible… Derek Chauvin”
Elsewhere, Beyonce released a statement and shared it on her website alongside a childhood picture of Floyd sleeping in his mother’s arms.
She wrote: “After too many years of misguided justice, today is a good day.
“I encourage all of us to continue to pray for George Floyd’s family and for all the families who seek justice for their loved ones who are victims of too many years of inequalities.”
Pop star and actress Mandy Moore said she was praying for Floyd’s family, while singer Justin Timberlake said the verdict represented “the first step in a long line of injustice against the Black community, often with no consequences”.
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