Civil rights attorney Ben Crump hailed the conviction of a sacked white police officer for the murder of African-American George Floyd as a "turning point in history" for the deeply divided United States.

"Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd's family," tweeted Mr Crump, the Floyd family lawyer, as Derek Chauvin was found guilty in a unanimous decision by a Minneapolis jury.

"This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!"

George Floyd's brother, Rodney Floyd, said: "I am feeling tears of joy, so emotional that no family in history ever got this far. We were able to get a guilty charge on all counts. We got a chance to go to trial and we took it all the way. This right here is for everyone that's been in this situation. Everybody."

Nervous crowds awaiting the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin erupted in jubilation after the jury found the former Minneapolis police officer guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd during an arrest last May.

Throngs gathered in George Floyd square around the intersection where the 46-year-old black man died with his neck pinned to the street under Chauvin's knee.

They cheered and applauded at the news of the guilty verdict.

The square has become a place of pilgrimage and protest since Mr Floyd's death made him the face of a national movement against racial injustice and police brutality.

Protests against his killing swept the United States and the world last year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

A man reacts to the guilty verdicts

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

"It is not Chauvin on trial. It is America on trial," Marcia Howard, one of the volunteers who oversees barricades and tributes in the square, said tearfully.

A 12-member jury found 45-year-old Chauvin guilty of all three charges after deliberating for just over 10 hours in a trial that encompassed three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses.

Chauvin was quickly led away from the courtroom in handcuffs after the verdict was read.

The reaction of crowds assembled outside Hennepin County Government Center, the building where the trial was held, was also ebullient.

Tears rolled down the face of Chris Dixon, a 41-year-old black Minneapolis resident, as he took the verdict in.

"I was hoping that we would get justice, and it looks like we did," said Mr Dixon, a director of athletic diversity and inclusion at Augsburg University. "I'm just very proud of where I live right now."

Social media reported spontaneous cheering on the streets and motorists honking their horns in a number of major US cities, including Washington and New York City.

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are to deliver remarks on the verdict this evening.

The White House said that Mr Biden had called the Floyd family. He was quoted as saying: "Nothing is going to make it all better but at least, God, now there's some justice. We're all so relieved - not just the one verdict but all three, guilty on all three counts."

"This is a day of justice in America. History will look back at this moment" said Kamala Harris, America's first black vice president, who was also on the call.


Reaction to Chauvin verdict

Former US president Barak Obama tweeted that the jury in the trial did the right thing.

Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said George Floyd's family and community deserved for his killer to be held accountable. "Today, they got that accountability. Always and forever, black lives matter."

The American Civil Liberties Union said for the first time in Minnesota state history, a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a black man.

It said that while today's verdict is a small win for police accountability and may help heal a grieving community, the systems that allowed George to be murdered, ripping him away from his family and the communities that loved him so much, remain fully intact.