MSNBC political contributor Jason Johnson said he was "not happy" with the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case on Tuesday after the jury found the former police officer guilty on all three charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, calling it a "cultural make-up call."
"I’m not happy, I’m not pleased," Johnson said, shrugging his shoulders. "I don’t think this is a good thing. I don't have any sense of satisfaction. I don't think this is the system working. I don't think this is a good thing. 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 year’s worth of protests...in order to get one scintilla of justice. That doesn’t make me feel happy."
Unless there's some "radical reform," Johnson added, he feared there will still be young Black men and women "being shot" by the police.
Johnson's fellow contributor Michael Steele said he appreciated Johnson's passion, but he disagreed that this was a moment to "strip it down" quite that way and we should instead focus on the Floyd family.
MSNBC's Shaquille Brewster, who was reporting outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, kept repeating that the scene outside the courthouse was "peaceful." Yet, he noted that downtown businesses had been notified about the verdict the same time the press did so they could prepare for the unrest and "shut down." Anchor Brian Williams agreed that the advance notice was for the best because it gave folks "time to defend whatever they need to defend."
Also indicative of how tense the scene was was the moment Brewster interviewed one young woman in the crowd post-verdict and she told him that had it gone the other way, they would "fight back" and would be fighting "for weeks."
"This is revolutionary," the demonstrator said. "This is history."
Her words hearkened back to California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters' controversial call over the weekend for protesters to "stay on the street" and get confrontational with police officers. Her comments even got the attention of Judge Peter Cahill, who told the court that he wished politicians would stop commenting on the trial.
Democrats, however, rejected GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy's effort to have her censured.