Any other Chauvin verdict would have been 'travesty of justice' - UN

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  • The UN has joined leaders across the world in welcoming Derek Chavin's guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd.
  • The UN suggested it would have been inconceivable to come to any other verdict.
  • "Impunity for crimes and human rights violations by law enforcement officers must end," the rights body urged.

The UN rights chief hailed on Wednesday the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, for murdering African-American man George Floyd, saying it was the only just outcome.

Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the racially charged trial seen as a pivotal test of police accountability in the United States.

"This is a momentous verdict," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

"As the jury recognised, the evidence in this case was crystal clear. Any other result would have been a travesty of justice."

Chauvin, a 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 2020 arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality around the world.

READ | Chauvin convicted of murdering George Floyd in landmark US racial justice case

Bachelet warned that "for countless other victims of African descent and their families, in the United States and throughout the world, the fight for justice goes on".

"The battle to get cases of excessive force or killings by police before the courts, let alone win them, is far from over."

The UN rights chief said "impunity for crimes and human rights violations by law enforcement officers must end, and we need to see robust measures to prevent further arbitrary killings".

"As we have painfully witnessed in recent days and weeks, reforms to policing departments across the US continue to be insufficient to stop people of African descent from being killed," she said.

"It is time to move on from talk of reform to truly rethinking policing as currently practised in the US and elsewhere."

The Floyd case, she said, "has also helped reveal, perhaps more clearly than ever before, how much remains to be done to reverse the tide of systemic racism that permeates the lives of people of African descent".

READ HERE | Derek Chauvin: convicted Floyd killer, face of US police brutality

She acknowledged that "important steps" were being taken in the US to counter systemic racism, but insisted that those "efforts must accelerate and expand, and must not be diluted when the public focus moves elsewhere".

"The entrenched legacy of discriminatory policies and systems, including the legacies of enslavement and transatlantic trade and the impact of colonialism, must be decisively uprooted in order to achieve racial justice and equality," Bachelet said.

"If they are not, the verdict in this case will just be a passing moment when the stars aligned for justice, rather than a true turning point."

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