U.S. President Joe Biden says the former police officer’s conviction for the killing of George Floyd “could be a huge step forward in America’s path to justice.”
But he warned: “We can’t stop here.”
White Officer Derek Chauvin was pictured kneeling on the neck of African-American Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes, sparking widespread protests against racism.
He was convicted on Tuesday of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
He faces up to two months in prison and could spend up to four decades in prison. He is expected to appeal the verdict.
After the verdict was announced, the president was heard on the phone with Mr. Floyd’s family saying: “At least there is some justice now.”
Mr. Biden later said in a televised comment that the verdict was “very rare”.
“We can’t leave this moment or think we’re done. We tried this for nine minutes and 29 seconds.”
Vice President Kamala Harris calls on lawyers to pass the George Floyd Bill to reform policing in the United States
“This bill is part of George Floyd’s legacy. This work is long overdue.”
People gathered outside the courtroom and at the corner of Minneapolis where Mr. Floyd was killed to celebrate the verdict.
Cheers spread, drivers paid homage to the horns of their cars and people blocked traffic: “George Floyd” and “Three Counts”, citing the three charges for which Chauvin was convicted.
“It’s a great day in Minneapolis,” said Kenneth Nawachi, 21. “It’s a blessing.”
A local resident told the Associated Press news agency he was grateful and relieved, and another said: “Some justice will come here.”
Crowds gathered in other cities to celebrate the verdict.