George Floyd's brother says verdict is a win for Houston, but next step is passing policing act

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of multiple murder charges and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, one of Floyd's brothers admits though he's only gotten a handful of hours of sleep, he's filled with joy.

"I felt like I won a championship, and I'm bringing a 'W' back to Houston," said Philonise Floyd, who spoke with ABC13 anchor Melanie Lawson on Wednesday alongside Floyd family attorney Ben Crump.

It took 10 hours for the jury to deliver guilty verdicts on Tuesday. Chauvin was convicted on all counts against him in connection to Floyd's death: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

VIDEO: Judge reads guilty verdicts in Derek Chauvin case | Click here for more about the charges
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ABC News Special Report: Derek Chauvin found guilty on all charges in the death of George Floyd.



"It really had me on cloud nine," said Philonise. "I was excited, because as an African American person, people of color ... we never get justice for anything. I think this sets the tone because these officers will be held accountable for the rest of their lives."

Philonise, who traveled to Minneapolis for the trial, said he was struck watching Chauvin put his hands behind his back to be placed into handcuffs after the guilty verdicts were read.

READ MORE: What George Floyd's brother thought watching Derek Chauvin placed in handcuffs

He recalls hearing the clicking noise of the handcuffs, which he says will forever live in his memory.

"They gently put the handcuffs on him and he walked away, still not showing any remorse for what he did," he said. "Where's the humanity? It was just devastating. He didn't try to apologize."

Each count for Chauvin carries a different maximum sentence: 40 years for second-degree unintentional murder, 25 years for third-degree murder, and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. But Minnesota has sentencing guidelines that call for far less.

Under the guidelines, a person with no criminal history would receive a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 years for each murder charge and a presumptive sentence of four years for manslaughter. The guidelines allow for a range slightly above and below those presumptive sentences, which is up to a judge's discretion.

But in this case, prosecutors are seeking a sentence that goes above the guideline range, called an "upward departure." They cited several aggravating factors, including that Floyd was particularly vulnerable, that Chauvin was a uniformed officer acting in a position of authority, and that his crime was witnessed by multiple children - including a 9-year-old girl who testified that watching the restraint made her "sad and kind of mad."

READ MORE: What do the charges against Derek Chauvin in George Floyd's death mean? What's next after conviction?

"I just think that he should serve his time in the cell just like my brother is serving his time in the ground," said Philonise. "I forgive people, but I can't get my brother back. It wasn't a mistake, because mistakes can be erased. He had nine minutes and 29 seconds to think about what he was doing, but it didn't work. He didn't care. He didn't show any remorse and I lost my brother."

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Merrick announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department is opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.

The Justice Department was already investigating whether Chauvin and the other officers involved in Floyd's death violated his civil rights.

"[Tuesday's] verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis," Garland said.

The new investigation is known as a "pattern or practice" - examining whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing - and will be a more sweeping review of the entire police department. It may result in major changes to policing in the Minnesota city.

"I'm glad that I was able to shed light on a lot of different things because of George," said Philonise. "It makes everyone else to feel safer in the world."

The next challenge for the Floyd family is to get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed. The bill was approved in the House, but it hasn't been voted by the Senate.

READ MORE: George Floyd Act: US House members from Houston area want Senate to pass police reform bill

The legislation, which is aimed largely at ending racial profiling among police departments, would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants in drug cases and reform qualified immunity, making it easier to pursue claims against police officers in civil court.

"We all got to try to do whatever we can to make sure we have meaningful police reform to change the culture and the behavior of policing in America, especially as it relates to marginalized minorities," said Crump.

Through a rollercoaster of emotions, Philonise said there's a special place for the city of Houston in his heart that kept him going.

"H-Town ... we're bringing the 'W' home," said Philonise with a smile. "That's what George would've said. I hate to talk about us winning something, but it just feels good because it never happens to us. This has been a historic moment. This has been monumental."

WATCH: Third Ward residents say George Floyd brought much-needed unity
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Eyewitness News spoke with residents in Houston's Third Ward, which is where George Floyd grew up. What's next for Derek Chauvin now that there's have a verdict? What do community members hope to see? Hit play to learn more.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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