TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With the world watching, civil rights attorney Ben Crump celebrated with George Floyd’s family following the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd, who died on May 25, 2020, when Chauvin knelt on the unarmed Black man’s neck during an arrest involving counterfeit money outside a corner store in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Crump expressed optimism about the verdict, saying he hopes it serves as a “precedent” for the future.
In looking forward, Crump also turned attention to the legal fight in the death of another Black American, Pamela Turner, who was fatally shot in 2019 by a police officer in the Houston suburb of Baytown, Texas, after a struggle over his stun gun.
“If you was outraged when you saw the video of George Floyd got killed by the police, then you should be equally outraged when you see the video of how they killed Pam Turner, an unarmed Black woman laying down on her back that he shot in the face, in the chest and in the stomach,” Crump said.
Crump is also representing Turner’s family in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed April 8.
Pamela Turner:Officer fatally shoots woman who allegedly grabbed his Taser in incident caught on video
How long will Derek Chauvin be in prison? What to know about the guilty verdict in George Floyd’s murder
Tuesday night, Crump – heralded as “Black America’s Attorney General” – broke from the media blitz for an exclusive interview with the USA TODAY Network-Florida. Here’s what he said.
What’s the first thing George Floyd’s brother Philonise said after the guilty verdict was read in court?
“‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.’ And then when we were all in the room before (President Joe Biden) called, we all said what George would have said. George would have said, ‘We just won the championship.'” Crump said.
“(Philonise) said tell everybody in Houston, ‘We’re coming home with a ‘W.’ “
What does life look like now for the Floyd family moving forward? Have they had a moment to think about that?
“I don’t think so, but right now they understand their purpose is to help Daunte Wright’s family as they get ready for his funeral on Thursday,” Crump said. “So they are starting to now comfort and counsel them, because it’s almost this time a year ago that they were going on that journey.”
How does the outcome of the Chauvin guilty verdict shape the approach moving forward for the Wright case?
“My hope is that this case sets a precedent that we will have when we say, ‘For liberty and justice for all,’ that that will mean everybody in America. Black Americans. Native Americans. Hispanic Americans. Asian Americans. It will mean all of us,” Crump said.
“So that is my fervent hope that we have set a new precedent tonight. I also hope we have set a precedent where we will see more police officers do what the police officers in Minneapolis did — and come in the courtroom and testify honestly when they see illegal or unjust acts being committed by their officers.
“Just like they want people in our community to tell when we see something illegal happen, well, hopefully they can be the example to show us how it’s done.”
Did you expect a guilty verdict on all three charges?
“Well, as I’ve said over and over again, I’ve been a civil rights lawyer my whole career, but I’ve been Black all my life. So we can never take for granted that a police officer is going to get convicted for killing a Black person in America unjustly, no matter how much evidence we have,” Crump said.
“But what I did believe was that this case was different and unique because that video of George Floyd being tortured to death for 9 minutes and 29 seconds galvanized people all across America and galvanized people all across the world.”
He added: “When you saw that video, you could not unsee that video.”
Contributing: Associated Press.
Follow reporter TaMaryn Waters on Twitter: @TaMarynWaters