Sunny Hostin reacts to Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict

‘The jury said, please don’t hurt us’: Tucker Carlson suggests the Derek Chauvin jury caved to ‘the mob’ with guilty verdict while Sean Hannity says it was correct and ABC’s Sunny Hostin breaks down on air

  • ABC News legal analyst Sunny Hostin said through tears that the guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial brought her some relief 
  • ‘I am so relieved that this is what justice finally looks like for my community,’ she said shortly after Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges against him 
  • CNN’s Don Lemon and Van Jones also weighed in on the verdict on Tuesday 
  • Both hosts agreed that there’s still a lot of work to be done, including officers holding one another accountable for their actions 
  • Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro said that the ‘verdict is supported by the facts’
  • Pirro also said that she believes that the ‘verdict will be upheld on appeal’
  • Fox News’ Sean Hannity told his viewers that the video evidence in this case was ‘substantial, it was overwhelming, and it was appalling’
  • But Hannity’s colleague Tucker Carlson suggested the verdict was influenced by politicians and that the jurors likely felt threatened

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity differed in opinion about the Derek Chauvin decision during their segments on Tuesday night as ABC’s Sunny Hostin broke down on air after the jury handed the former Minneapolis cop a guilty verdict for the death of George Floyd. 

Hannity told his viewers that the video evidence in this case was ‘substantial, it was overwhelming, and it was appalling’. 

He said that the decision ‘is in no way an indictment of all police officers. This is a guilty verdict for one police officer’.

‘Everywhere, unlike others are, on this program, we do make the distinction. We talk about the 99 per cent of good police officers that risk their lives daily to protect and serve their immunities. They have a very hard job, and it is getting harder every day,’ Hannity added. 

But his colleague, Carlson, had a different opinion despite the video evidence.  Carlson suggested that the verdict was influenced by politicians and that the jurors likely felt threatened. 

‘The jury in the Derek Chauvin trial came to a unanimous and unequivocal verdict Tuesday afternoon: “Please don’t hurt us.” The jurors spoke for many in this country; everyone understood perfectly well the consequences of an acquittal in this case.

‘After nearly a year of burning, looting, and murder by BLM, that was never in doubt. 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.

Carlson continued on to say that ‘no mob has the right to destroy our cities’. 

‘Not under any circumstances, not for any reason. No politician or media figure has the right to intimidate a jury, and no political party has the right to impose a different standard of justice on its own supporters.’ 

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Fox News’ Tucker Carlson (right) and Sean Hannity (left) differed in opinion about the Derek Chauvin decision during their segments on Tuesday night. Carlson suggested that the decision was illegitimate and Hannity said that the evidence was ‘substantial’ and ‘appalling’

During Carlson’s segment, he was joined by conservative commentator Candace Owens (right) who said: ‘No person can say this was a fair trial’

A tearful Sunny Hostin explained why Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the death of George Floyd means so much to her and her community. The legal analyst said: ‘I am so relieved that this is what justice finally looks like for my community’

‘The system is what matters. There have been plenty of cases in history were people were punished extra judiciary, outside the system, but it is still wrong. It is always wrong to punish someone in a fundamentally illegitimate way,’ Carlson said. 

He continued: ‘The way you do it is all important. I just – how can you have a trial that we respect if the jurors feel threatened?’

Carlson also said that there was a ‘political context around this trial – politicians should not have any influence on trial, that is antithetical to what justice is. They did intrude at every level.’

He pointed to President Joe Biden weighing in on a jury decision before it was made Tuesday morning, saying: ‘I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is  overwhelming, in my view.’  

Carlson also noted Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ ‘get more confrontational’ remarks.  

During Carlson’s segment, he was joined by conservative commentator Candace Owens. 

Carlson had questioned if the public can trust the way the verdict came about and Owens responded: ‘We are really seeing mob justice, and that is really what happened with this entire trial. This was not a trial about George Floyd and Derek Chauvin. This was a trial about whether the media was powerful enough to create a simulation and decide upon a narrative absent any facts.’ 

‘No person can say this was a fair trial,’ she added. 

MSNBC’s Jason Johnson (top right) also expressed his frustration with the verdict. He called it a ‘cultural make-up call’ during an on-air segment

During her own show, Owens claimed that today’s decision is ‘the wrong verdict’.

‘And I think that it’s indicative of the fact that we now live in mob rule. This is mob rule society,’ she claimed. 

She called the case ‘polluted’ from start to finish, blaming the media and the ‘power they had in setting up this narrative’ that Floyd was trying to get his life together when he died.

‘The saddest part of this is that what we need to acknowledge is that the media creates the mob and the mob rules. And that’s what we just saw play out,’ she Owens added. 

Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro said that the ‘verdict is supported by the facts’. 

‘We had a living, breathing person that the jury was able to relate to every day, day after day, watching the trauma of what he went through, begging for air, begging to breathe. This was an emotional as well as an intellectual decision.’

Pirro also said she believes that the ‘verdict will be upheld on appeal’. 

She continued: ‘But right now what people need to understand is that the American justice system works. It works. People believe in lady justice, that if we give it a chance it can work.’ 

MSNBC’s Jason Johnson expressed his frustration with the verdict. He called it a ‘cultural make-up call’ during an on-air segment. 

‘I’m not happy. I’m not pleased. I don’t have any sense of satisfaction. I don’t think this is the system working

Johnson explained his viewpoint, saying: ‘What this says to me is that in order to get a nominal degree of justice in this country that a black man has to be murdered on air, viewed by the entire world, there has to be a years worth of protest…in order to get one scintilla of justice. That doesn’t make me feel happy.’

‘This is the justice system trying to say, “Hey, this is one bad apple,”‘ Johnson added.  

Meanwhile a tearful Sunny Hostin broke down on air after the guilty verdict.

Through tears the ABC News legal analyst said: ‘Because of the history in this country. Because it is so rare that police officers are convicted. Because black men and black boys are killed by police with impunity in this country and that is just the truth at a rate five times more than their white counterparts.  

Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro (pictured) said that the ‘verdict is supported by the facts’

During a CNN panel, Van Jones (top left) joined Anderson Cooper and others to discuss the verdict on Tuesday. Jones said there’s still so much work to be done and that ‘there’s so many opportunities for us to do better’

Don Lemon (top left) also shared similar sentiments, saying those who filmed the incident last year ‘didn’t know their power then but they certainly know their power now’. However, Lemon noted that there’s ‘a lot more to be done’

‘Because I am the mother of an 18-year-old boy who is now in South Africa and I feel that he is safer in South Africa than he is in his own country. I am so relieved that this is what justice finally looks like for my community,’ Hostin said. 

She continued: ‘And while I know that this does not bring George Floyd back to his family, to his loved ones, to his brother… at least I believe now that the movement that we’ve seen since his murder on video for the world to see is not just a moment. 

‘I really believe that this is a movement that we’ve seen and for that I’m so, so very thankful that perhaps we will see real change, much needed change in this country.’

During a CNN panel, Jones joined Anderson Cooper and others to discuss the verdict on Tuesday.    

Jones noted that ‘in January and February of 2020 if you had asked the average white person, is police brutality a big deal, is anti-racism a big deal, some would have said yes, some would have said no’.

‘Because of that young woman and because of the video, 20 million white Americans marched… millions. There were Black Lives Matter marches in Idaho where there’s no black people. That gives you a sense of how humanity’s heart was touched,’ Jones said.

‘That shouldn’t just happen in the streets when we’re marching. There’s so many opportunities for us to do better. Listen, the empathy gap that we’re seeing throughout our politics can start to close a little bit,’ Jones continued. 

‘It’s important to understand… the police chief fired the guy and testified against him. There were people throughout the profession of law enforcement who came forward and did the right thing for once and they all still have their jobs. More cops can speak up. More police chiefs can speak up. And more people can do the right thing in these situations.’ 

Lemon also shared similar sentiments, saying those who filmed the incident last year ‘didn’t know their power then but they certainly know their power now’.

However, Lemon noted that there’s ‘a lot more to be done’.

‘Police officers around the country are going to have to do things. They’re going to have to hold their fellow officers accountable. There were other officers involved in this particular incident, and in that moment, they did not, it doesn’t seem they held their fellow officers accountable,’ Lemon said.  

Millions of Americans rejoiced over the guilty verdict handed down to Chauvin, a former Minneapolis cop who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020. 

Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning Floyd to the pavement in a case that touched off worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the US.

Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades.

People elated by the verdict flooded the surrounding streets downtown upon hearing the news. Cars blared their horns, and people ran through traffic, waving banners.

Floyd family members gathered at a Minneapolis conference room could be heard cheering from the next room as each verdict was read.

The jury of six white people and six black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. Chauvin was found guilty on all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

His face was obscured by a COVID-19 mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond his eyes darting around the courtroom.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson (left) and defendant, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, arrive for the verdict in Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin (center) is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson (left) looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial

His bail was immediately revoked and he was led away with his hands cuffed behind his back. Sentencing will be in two months.

As the judge asked jurors if they reached a verdict, a hush fell on the crowd 300 strong in a park adjacent to the courthouse, with people listening to the proceedings on their cellphones. When the final guilty verdict was announced, the crowd roared, many people hugging, some shedding tears.

At the intersection where Floyd was pinned down, a crowd chanted, ‘One down, three to go!’ – a reference to the three other fired Minneapolis police officers facing trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

Janay Henry, who lives nearby, said she felt grateful and relieved.

‘I feel grounded. I can feel my feet on the concrete,’ she said, adding that she was looking forward to the ‘next case with joy and optimism and strength.’

An ecstatic Whitney Lewis leaned halfway out a car window in a growing traffic jam of revelers waving a Black Lives Matter flag. ‘Justice was served,’ the 32-year-old from Minneapolis said. ‘It means George Floyd can now rest.’

The verdict was read in a courthouse ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire and patrolled by National Guard troops, in a city on edge against another round of unrest – not just because of the Chauvin case but because of the deadly police shooting of a young Black man, Daunte Wright, in a Minneapolis suburb April 11.

The jurors’ identities were kept secret and will not be released until the judge decides it is safe to do so.

Floyd, 46, died May 25 after being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a corner market.

He panicked, pleaded that he was claustrophobic and struggled with police when they tried to put him in a squad car. They put him on the ground instead.

The centerpiece of the case was the excruciating bystander video of Floyd gasping repeatedly, ‘I can’t breathe’ and onlookers yelling at Chauvin to stop as the officer pressed his knee on or close to Floyd’s neck for what authorities say was 9 1/2 minutes. Floyd slowly went silent and limp.

Prosecutors played the footage at the earliest opportunity, during opening statements, with Jerry Blackwell telling the jury: ‘Believe your eyes.’ And it was shown over and over, analyzed one frame at a time by witnesses on both sides.

In the wake of Floyd´s death, demonstrations and scattered violence broke out in Minneapolis, around the country and beyond. The furor also led to the removal of Confederate statues and other offensive symbols such as Aunt Jemima.

In the months that followed, numerous states and cities restricted the use of force by police, revamped disciplinary systems or subjected police departments to closer oversight.

The ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ that often protects police accused of wrongdoing crumbled after Floyd´s death: The Minneapolis police chief quickly called it ‘murder’ and fired all four officers, and the city reached a staggering $27million settlement with Floyd´s family as jury selection was underway.

Police-procedure experts and law enforcement veterans inside and outside the Minneapolis department, including the chief, testified for the prosecution that Chauvin used excessive force and went against his training. 

A woman cheers after the verdict was read on Tuesday at the Hennepin County courthouse 

Cheers rose from the crowds that had gathered outside the courthouse after the verdict was read

Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him, a knee on his neck and his face jammed against the ground.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson called a police use-of-force expert and a forensic pathologist to help make the case that Chauvin acted reasonably against a struggling suspect and that Floyd died because of an underlying heart condition and his illegal drug use.

Floyd had high blood pressure, an enlarged heart and narrowed arteries, and fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in his system.

Under the law, police have certain leeway to use force and are judged according to whether their actions were ‘reasonable’ under the circumstances.

The defense also tried to make the case that Chauvin and the other officers were hindered in their duties by what they perceived as a growing, hostile crowd.

Chauvin did not testify, and all that the jury or the public ever heard by way of an explanation from him came from a police body-camera video after an ambulance had taken the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd away. 

Chauvin told a bystander: ‘We gotta control this guy ´cause he´s a sizable guy… and it looks like he´s probably on something.’

The prosecution´s case also included tearful testimony from onlookers who said the police kept them back when they protested what was happening. 

Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier, who shot the crucial video, said Chauvin just gave the bystanders a ‘cold’ and ‘heartless’ stare.

She and others said they felt a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt from witnessing Floyd´s slow-motion death.

‘It´s been nights I stayed up, apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life,’ Frazier testified, while the 19-year-old cashier at the neighborhood market, Christopher Martin, lamented that ‘this could have been avoided’ if only he had rejected the suspect $20 bill.

To make Floyd more than a crime statistic in the eyes of the jury, the prosecution called to the stand his girlfriend, who told the story of how they met and how they struggled with addiction to opioids, and his younger brother Philonise. 

He recalled how Floyd helped teach him to catch a football and made ‘the best banana mayonnaise sandwiches.’

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