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Looking Back At A Year Like No Other In The Wake Of George Floyd's Murder

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In the year since George Floyd's death, former police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder, and three other officers are awaiting trial.

We've also seen a worldwide movement to address barriers toward equality, and bring them down.

As CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports, it's the verdict that captivated a nation gripped by the agony of George Floyd's final pleas.

"Tonight is a joyous night. But tomorrow, we still have to dismantle systemic oppression," one person said on the day of the Chauvin verdict.

Now former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is in jail, awaiting sentencing for murder.


"My arms just went up, and tears started coming down, 'cause I thought about how I sat with Mrs. Diallo in that courtroom in Albany, and they came back, with her son had been shot at 41 times by police, and they came back - every charge not guilty," said. Rev. Al Sharpton. "I thought about Eric Garner, never got to court. I thought about Michael Brown, never got to court. And it all came down on me that finally there was a family that heard 'guilty.'"

WATCH: CBS2's Extended Interview With The Rev. Al Sharpton

This time was different. Fellow officers testified against Chauvin and a global pandemic made it impossible for anyone to look away.

Widespread protests blanketed cities, large and small - an outrage shared by the most diverse patchwork of humanity.

Then tensions ignited. Fires were set, businesses looted and vandalized. Curfews and arrests lead to violent clashes between protestors and the NYPD.

But at the heart of the overwhelmingly peaceful protests were renewed demands for police accountability. Some officers took a knee in solidarity. Others were on the defensive.

Still, a flurry of reforms once left dormant, were fast-tracked through state legislatures. Similar measures are stalled in Congress.

Simultaneously, cities like New York continue to confront a sharp spike in violent crime.

"Job one is to always keep people safe, and we can do that while creating reform and creating a better NYPD and a fairer NYPD," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.


One year later, a racial reckoning is laid bare, from the board room to the playing field, underscoring this country's painful past often remains present for Black and Brown communities.

"Within 10 days of the guilty verdict, I did two funerals of two victims of police killings," Sharpton said.

While most protesters have returned home, for longtime activists, the fight gained more steam.

"And we needed that victory. Every movement needs victories," Sharpton said.

Sharpton has hardly slowed down.

"The name of the special is George Floyd: A Racial Reckoning? - with a question mark," CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas said.

"Are we at a moment, or have we seen a movement that has moved a nation? And I don't think the question has been answered. But I think it has now, for the first time, been raised," Sharpton said.

Sharpton says a key component of that answer will be the outcome of the case against the three other former officers charged in Floyd's death.

Their trial has been postponed until next year.

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