'The verdict was what we knew should happen. But we didn't know that it would happen,' Christopher Harris tells PEOPLE

By Wendy Grossman Kantor
April 22, 2021 09:38 AM
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George Floyd and Derek Chauvin
George Floyd, at left, and Derek Chauvin
| Credit: Splash

George Floyd's close friend is speaking out -- and saying that felt relieved when he heard that Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges related to Floyd's death.

"The verdict was what we knew should happen. But we didn't know that it would happen," Christopher Harris, 46, tells PEOPLE. "The whole world was on pins and needles and when it did happen, everyone felt a sigh of relief. I'm glad they found him guilty. But to me, the fight is not over until the other three officers are charged and found guilty as well."

Floyd, 46, a Black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill, died facedown on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him as Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee to Floyd's neck for about nine minutes.

Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The other officers on the scene — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — all were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Each has pleaded not guilty. They are expected to be tried this summer.

Watching the Chauvin trial was incredibly difficult for Harris, who has known George Floyd since sixth grade, and even convinced Floyd to move to Minneapolis.

"It was hard. It's been a hard week," he says. "But some justice was done."

When guilty verdict was announced, Harris felt mixed emotions.

"I was angry and happy at the same time," he says. "I was happy because he was found guilty, but at the same time, I was angry because I'll never see my friend again this side of heaven."

He found it upsetting when he received congratulatory phone calls from people declaring the verdict a "victory."

"I don't see how this is a victory. My friend literally suffocated to death in broad daylight," Harris says.  "I don't see victory in that. I don't think I'll ever see victory in that. I see some form of justice."

His friend has been constantly on his mind – and he is happy that some justice was served – but he wants more police officers to be held accountable.

"Derek Chauvin killed my partner," he says. "Straight hate and evil killed my brother."