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Chauvin Found Guilty On All Charges

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

From NPR News in Washington, this is live Special Coverage of the verdict tonight in the trial of Derek Chauvin. I'm Mary Louise Kelly with Ari Shapiro. That verdict, again - he was found guilty on all three charges - second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. In the courtroom in Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin stood. He placed his hands behind his back. He was handcuffed. He was led out of the courtroom.

Attention now turns, among other things, to how much prison time he may serve. The judge, Judge Peter Cahill, said sentencing will take place in about eight weeks. Let's go now for some reaction and reporting from NPR's Leila Fadel. She's in Minneapolis. Leila, what a day in Minneapolis. Tell me where you are, what kind of reaction you are hearing.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: So I'm still outside the courthouse, and basically the streets have filled with honking cars, people carrying flags that say Black Lives Matter. Somebody's brought out a grill, and they've got burgers on the grill. There is a celebratory atmosphere. And everyone here, though, says, you know, it's not a celebration. A man's life was lost. But they also saw justice served, in their eyes, for this man being lost.

KELLY: We are told the president is going to be addressing the nation shortly. So I apologize in advance, Leila, if I have to interrupt you 'cause we want to take that live. Walk us through what happens next. I mentioned the timeline for sentencing. We may know in some weeks. But what kind of time might Derek Chauvin be looking at?

FADEL: I mean, each of his charges carries up to 15 years. The recommended charges for this is between - about 12.5 years for each of the murder charges and several years for the manslaughter charge. But the prosecution also asks for more sentencing time because certain circumstances were fulfilled for that. So he could face up to 40 years depending on what the judge decides. That's something that we'll have to see.

KELLY: And I mentioned we're standing by for the president. We also expect to hear from George Floyd's family. What are we expecting from them tonight?

FADEL: I mean, I think that this is what they wanted. They wanted convictions on every charge. They wanted to see the person that took their loved one away put in prison. And so we expect to see them speak about that. Everybody here, though, that I talked to spoke about this has being the beginning, the beginning of change. And they asked why it took a video of nine minutes and 29 seconds of suffering for someone to go to jail. They talk about the many other people who have been killed at the hands of the police but were - did not get the same justice. And so that's what they are saying about this moment, that this is the beginning and this is the way forward where accountability happens and then people maybe don't die in that way.

KELLY: And you were describing some of the celebrations taking place there outside the courthouse right now. You have done so much reporting in these recent days about the security presence, about how tense the city was, about law enforcement...

FADEL: Yeah.

KELLY: ...On every corner. Does it feel like the tension has lifted a little bit, like the city's exhaling?

FADEL: It feels like everyone took a collective breath. Everybody's been on edge - a wall being built higher to divide law enforcement from the community, a sense of what might happen depending on what the outcome of this verdict was. And now it feels like everybody can breathe again. And it's basically a party in the street over here. I mean, there was a moment where a truck drove into the crowd briefly. We saw somebody jump on that truck. And it got slightly tense, but it ended OK - nobody hurt. The truck left. And, yeah, it just feels like a collective breath was taken.

KELLY: And is police presence still visible?

FADEL: In downtown Minneapolis, yes. I'm seeing a lot of National Guard from the actual courthouse building looking over the crowd. You're not seeing police or law enforcement in this crowd, but you do see National Guard vehicles behind the fences that are protecting the courthouse. But this isn't - there is no real tension here right now. It's people coming out to say, wow, this justice system works. And maybe it can work again, and maybe we can take the - what happened here today in Minneapolis and use it to force other change. That's what I'm hearing.

KELLY: NPR's Leila Fadel at the courthouse in Minneapolis.

Thank you, Leila, for your reporting today and all through this trial.

FADEL: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.