“Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade launched into a tirade just 10 minutes into Thursday morning’s show, arguing that anti-racism protesters “should be barred” from calling 911 if they speak out against the police.
Kilmeade, who has co-hosted the show since 1998, was reacting to fellow anchor Ainsley Earhardt listing off a series of headlines about a handful of protests in the aftermath of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd.
“Ohio State University, now, the students are gathering in the students union and they’re demanding that the school cut ties with Columbus police. In Portland, someone punched an officer in the face,” Earhardt said, offering little context and not citing any sources of the reports.
“They smashed windows of a Starbucks,” she continued. “They spray painted anti-police messages on walls there. Minnesota, protesters were yelling at police ‘Get the blank out,’ and in New York at that local restaurant, ‘We don’t want you here. We don’t want you here.'”
Kilmeade quickly jumped in.
“Good, and you know what? You should be barred from – anyone who says that, you are no longer allowed to use 911,” he said, adding: “Let’s just hope, in your life, you never need a police officer.”
While the initial reaction to the Chauvin verdict on Tuesday was mostly positive from daytime Fox News hosts and guests, several others have expressed frustration at how the ruling played out among the public and in the mainstream media.
Most notably, the network’s top-rated primetime host Tucker Carlson cast doubt on the verdict by implying the jury was intimidated into convicting Chauvin, while Greg Gutfeld – co-host of “The Five” and host of the eponymously named “Gutfeld!” – celebrated the jury’s decision “even if he might not be guilty of all charges” because “my house was looted.”
The Department of Justice is opening a civil investigation into the practices of the Minneapolis Police Department, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday.
A jury convicted Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, on second-degree manslaughter, second-degree murder, and third-degree murder charges for killing George Floyd, a Black man, in May 2020.
The wide-ranging investigation will examine whether the department “engages in a practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” including the department’s use of force practices, procedures during arrests, and conduct during protests, according to the Associated Press.
This new probe follows a separate, ongoing DOJ civil rights investigation into Floyd’s murder itself.
Garland, who is focusing the DOJ’s efforts on enhancing civil rights, also recently rescinded Trump-era guidance limiting the DOJ’s ability to enter into consent decrees with police departments accused of systemtic misconduct and wrongdoing.
Under the Obama administration, the DOJ entered in consent decrees with police departments in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland following high-profile deaths of Black men at the hands of police in those cities.
Many said that the ruling was only the beginning of the fight against institutional racism, and urged more action.
The CEOs of Apple and Dell shared quotes by civil-rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., while Zoom CEO Eric Yuan urged his staff to take care of their mental health.
Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer at the time, knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
Melinda Gates, chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates, who chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alongside husband Bill Gates, posted on LinkedIn that the verdict was “just the beginning.”
“As important as it was, this verdict was not justice,” she said. “If George Floyd had justice, he would be alive today.”
The Business Roundtable
The Business Roundtable, a group representing the CEOs of top US companies including Walmart, P&G, Dow, and PayPal, urged the country to “take steps to address its long history of racial inequity in law enforcement.”
“Though today’s verdict is a step toward justice in this case, unarmed Black men and women continue to die in encounters with the police,” it said.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra
General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that the verdict was a “step in the fight against bias and injustice,” but that “we must remain determined to drive meaningful, deliberate change on a broad scale.”
Walgreens Boots Alliance posted statement on its website, saying that law enforcement officials must protect “all of us, at all times.”
People need to “pledge to do everything within our power to ensure that long-overdue, much-needed reforms are enacted to prevent future injustices,” the company said.
“Even with a verdict now handed down, we must never forget what this past year has taught us, and we must always keep alive the memory of George Floyd, and the countless victims who have suffered similar fates,” it said.
“The Centers for Disease Control has declared racism a public health threat, and for many African Americans and others in communities of color, it has definitely been life threatening,” it added.
Microsoft President Brad Smith
Microsoft President Brad Smith said that “our nation has a long journey ahead before it establishes the justice and equity that Black Americans deserve.”
He added that “no jury can bring him back to life or reverse the pain and trauma experienced by his family and still felt across the country and around the world,” but that the verdict was “a step forward in acknowledging painful truths.”
Salesforce tweeted that though the verdict was a “defining and important moment,” it “does not make up for so much loss and injustice experienced by the Black community.”
“George Floyd should be alive today,” it added.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson
In a letter to US partners, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that the verdict would “not soothe the intense grief, fatigue and frustration so many of our Black and African American partners are feeling.”
He said that, “while today’s verdict is a step forward in accountability, until we confront the ugly realities and root causes of what led us to this day, our people, our nation, will always fall short of their full potential.”
“We cannot sit on the sidelines as individuals nor as a company,” he added.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said that Tuesday was “meaningful in the pursuit of justice, although Black communities continue to experience targeted acts of violence.”
In an note to staff, Zoom told employees to take care of their mental health and reach out to managers if they needed support.
Twitter urged people to “continue to deepen our solidarity and our commitment to combating racial injustice.”
Chavin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. The verdict came about a year after footage circulated of the white police officer Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a Black man, for several minutes. Floyd’s death sparked international protests, sometimes-violent unrest, and a national conversation in America about racial injustice.
On Tuesday’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the Fox News star characterized the verdict not as an impartial decision based on the trial but rather the jurors’ way of saying “Please don’t hurt us.”
It was part of a longer opening monologue suggesting that the jury was spurred by fear of rioting by people who would have been angered by a verdict of not guilty.
“Can we trust the way this decision was made?” he asked.
“Everyone understood perfectly well the consequences of an acquittal in this case,” Carlson said. “After nearly a year of burning and looting and murder by BLM, that was never in doubt.”
He continued: “Last night, 2,000 miles from Minneapolis, police in Los Angeles preemptively blocked roads. Why? They knew what would happen if Derek Chauvin got off.”
This thinking has been aired elsewhere on Fox News. On Tuesday afternoon’s “The Five,” Greg Gutfeld expressed relief at the verdict because, as he put it, “my neighborhood was looted” in the initial unrest after Floyd was killed.
Drawing pushback from fellow hosts, he said he wanted “a verdict that keeps this country from going up in flames.”
On his primetime show that evening, Carlson framed the verdict as open to debate. “Is the officer guilty of the specific crimes for which he was just convicted?” he asked. “We can debate all that, and over this hour we will.”
Carlson has previously given weight on his show to the discredited theory that fentanyl in Floyd’s system contributed to his death. Chauvin’s defense team also argued this but was rebutted in court by prosecution witnesses.
Carlson went on to say politicians, protesters, and media figures tried to “intimidate” the jury.
“No politician or media figure has the right to intimidate a jury,” he said. “And no political party has the right to impose a different standard of justice on its own supporters.”
He did not specify in his opening monologue how this happened in Chauvin’s trial, but he has previously accused Democrats of holding a double standard in discussions around the Capitol riot and the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
Both President Joe Biden and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters have drawn criticism for commenting on the trial before the verdict was out. Biden commented that there was “overwhelming evidence” for what he called “the right verdict,” while Waters directly said she was “looking for a guilty verdict.”
On Tuesday, Carlson suggested that the fatal shooting of the Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt – a white supporter of then-President Donald Trump – would not get the same level of scrutiny as Floyd’s killing because of what he called “political or ethnic considerations.”
“That’s the jury’s decision…I think they can appeal whether or not he got a fair trial but I told everybody that this is the way the system works. I accept the jury’s verdict and leave it up to the court,” Senator Lindsey Graham said.
Rep. Joni Ernst said, “I think the jury did its job, and I would — I did not follow, of course, all the parts of the trial, but I would say that given the information they received, they did their job, and I guess I’m in agreement, so…”
Several GOP legislators said they did not follow the trial closely but believed the jury decided fair.
Senator Rick Scott said he doesn’t “know all the facts” and “everybody loses in these.”
“It’s horrible what happened… Think about the poor family, Floyd lost. This guy’s life is changed,” Scott said, referring to Chauvin. “But I believe in the judicial system. Both sides presented their case and he was convicted.”
Freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene responded to a video of crowds in front of the courthouse chanting “all cops are bas–ds” with just a hashtag reading “#BackTheBlue.”
The House rejected the effort to censure Waters on Tuesday.
Other members said the decision showed the justice system at work.
“I think our justice system is getting more just, I’m thankful for the verdict and certainly thought it was murder and so that last, my first thought or shortly thereafter and believe that this reinforces the fact that while we all may need to grow our confidence in parts of the system. The truth of the matter is that this reinforces a commitment that we can have confidence that the justice system is becoming more just,” South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said.
Senator Josh Hawley said he tends “to trust the judgment of juries.”
“So I have every expectation that this jury obviously deliberated for a number of hours, were very thoughtful about it,” Hawley said, adding that if Chauvin doesn’t like the verdict he could appeal.
Senator Tommy Tuberville said he was glad “we went through it like this. I didn’t get to see the trial. I understood that they had some very tough moments in the trial, but you know at the end of the day jury spoke guilty.”
Tuberville added that he hopes “we can get back to a normal situation in Minneapolis, to where everybody can kind of relax a little bit. It’s been a tough situation. But we do need to protect our police, and we need to protect the citizens and I think this will kind of throw a sign up saying ‘Hey, everybody do your job’ both sides.”
Senator Mike Braun welcomed the verdict.
“I think those are the verdict I was expecting and hope for and I think were deserved,” Braun said.
Rep. Cori Bush, a Democrat from Missouri and Black Lives Matter activist, could be seen crying as she embraced Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
Bush, a freshman congresswoman and Missouri’s first Black Congresswoman, said in a statement following the verdict that Chauvin’s trial “has been nothing short of a traumatizing, painful and gut-wrenching reminder of how difficult it is to hold police accountable when they murder members of our community.”
“Over the last month, we’ve been retraumatized, over, and over again as we watched 8 minutes and 46 seconds become 9 minutes and 29 seconds,” she wrote in the statement.
“Listening to the verdict today, I wanted to be overjoyed. But the truth is we should not have to wait with bated breath to find out whether accountability will be served.”
“The moment we heard the verdict, we held each other,” Bush wrote on Twitter with a video of her hugging Pressley, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “This feeling is not easy. But all of us will carry each other through this.”
Pressley responded to Bush’s tweet, writing she was “so very grateful this justice seeker is my sister & colleague.”
“There was so much exchanged in this sisterly embrace,” Pressley tweeted. “History. Love. Trauma & Resolve. Our work is not done. We must contd fighting & legislating to save Black lives.”
In a tweet following the reading of Chauvin’s guilty verdict, Pressley tweeted: “Black men, I love you, and you deserve to grow old.”
“Despite today’s guilty verdict, this system can never deliver true justice for George Floyd and his family,” Pressley said in a statement. “True justice would be George Floyd, alive today, at home with his fiancé, children, and siblings.”
“The truth is that we never expected justice from this trial,” she continued. “We demanded accountability. Today, a jury delivered accountability and Chauvin will face consequences for his actions.”
The statement said police were responding to a call on forgery in progress.
“Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later,” the statement read.
It stressed that no weapons were used.
“At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident,” the statement read.
The video that was posted of the incident shortly after the statement was released told a different story. Chauvin can be seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he repeatedly says “I can’t breathe” before going limp.
He also warned against “agitators and extremists” exploiting the events to create further civil unrest. “We can’t let them to succeed. This is a time for this country to come together.”
Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the nation immediately after Biden. “America has a long history of systemic racism,” she said. “Black Americans, and Black men in particular, have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human.”
“Because of smartphones, so many Americans have now seen the racial injustice that Black Americans have known for generations,” she added. “It is not just a Black America problem, or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American… and it is holding our nation back.”
Biden, Harris, and First Lady Jill Biden called Floyd’s family after the verdict was announced on Tuesday afternoon.
“Nothing’s going to make it all better, but at least now there’s some justice,” Biden told the family earlier in the evening. “You’re an incredible family, I wish I was there to put my arms around you … we’re all so relieved.”
Harris said she was “so grateful for the entire family, for your courage, your commitment, your strength.”
“In George’s name and memory, we’re going to make sure that his legacy is intact and history will look back on this moment and know that it was an inflection moment,” she said. “We’re going to make something good come out of this tragedy, okay?”
Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges against him: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. The verdict came after a closely-watched three-week trial and two days of deliberation. Chauvin will be sentenced in the coming weeks and faces up to 40 years in prison.
Crowds gathered in Minneapolis erupted in cheers and shouts of “justice!” as the verdict was read aloud by the judge on Tuesday afternoon.
Biden faced criticism for publicly weighing in on Chauvin’s trial before the verdict was reached earlier this week. But the president defended his comments by saying he’d waited until the jury was sequestered and therefore couldn’t be influenced by his remarks.
The president told reporters on Tuesday that he was “praying for the right verdict” in Chauvin’s trial and said the “evidence is overwhelming.” And he said he had talked with Floyd’s family and expressed sympathy and support over the phone.
“They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is,” Biden went on.
That former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin is now a was convicted of murder, among other charges, serves as proof that the “system of justice has worked as it should,” according to the head of the country’s largest police union
In a statement following Tuesday’s verdict, in which Chauvin was convicted of killing George Floyd last summer, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Patrick Yoes, accepted the jury’s findings.
“The trial was fair and due process was served,” Yoes said.
The statement is consistent with what the organization said soon after the video of Floyd’s killing went viral last May. At the time, the group issued a statement distancing itself and the profession of law enforcement from Chauvin’s actions.
“Based on the bystander’s video from this incident, we witnessed a man in distress pleading for help,” it said. “The fact that he was a suspect in custody is immaterial – police officers should at all times render aid to those who need it.”
Local police in California also welcomed Tuesday’s news.
“Today’s guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, unanimously reached by twelve jurors, was just,” police unions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose said in a joint statement. “Although the verdict will not bring George Floyd back, this tragedy provides all of us in law enforcement an opportunity to improve how our nation is policed.”
Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring his protests that he “could not breath.” The former cop, who was fired after the incident, now faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder.
According to the ACLU, it is the first time a white police officer in Minnesota has ever been convicted of killing a Black man.
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AOC tweeted that Derek Chauvin’s conviction on multiple counts of murder and manslaughter was not justice.
“That a family had to lose a son, brother and father; that a teenage girl had to film and post a murder, that milions across the country had to organize and march just for George Floyd to be seen and valued is not justice,” AOC tweeted.
“And this verdict is not a substitute for policy change,” she added.
“That a family had to lose a son, brother and father; that a teenage girl had to film and post a murder, that milions across the country had to organize and march just for George Floyd to be seen and valued is not justice,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “And this verdict is not a substitute for policy change.”
After deliberating for fewer than 11 hours, a Minnesota jury found Chauvin guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder, and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Floyd, who was 46 years old, died last May after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest while Floyd pleaded for his life and said he couldn’t breathe.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of several lawmakers who reacted to Chauvin’s conviction Tuesday.
“This feels different for our community, justice feels new and long overdue,” tweeted Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. She also tipped her hat to the state’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted Chauvin. “Rejoice, my beloved community. Grateful to @AGEllison, jurors, and everyone who made this possible. Alhamdulillah!!”
“No joy today,” tweeted Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York. “Just relief.”
Rep. Maxine Waters of California struck a similar chord, saying, “Someone said it better than me: I’m not celebrating. I’m relieved.”
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted: “Black men, I love you, and you deserve to grow old.”
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said in a statement that there was “no question” in his mind “that the jury reached the right verdict.”
“While this outcome should give us renewed confidence in the integrity of our justice system, we know there is more work to be done to ensure the bad apples do not define all officers – the vast majority of whom put on the uniform each day with integrity and servant hearts,” the statement continued.
Chauvin’s conviction capped weeks of emotionally charged testimony from dozens of witnesses, law enforcement officials, bystanders, and medical professionals about the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death. The prosecution and defense made closing arguments on Monday, and the jury deliberated for ten hours and 27 minutes before the court announced it had reached a verdict.