‘America is on trial’: George Floyd family and activists gather outside courthouse

Family with civil rights attorney Ben Crump and campaigner Al Sharpton knelt outside as murder trial of Derek Chauvin began

Members of George Floyd’s family along with civil rights attorney Ben Crump and campaigner Al Sharpton gathered and knelt in front of the courthouse in Minneapolis on Monday morning as the murder trial began of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

“Derek Chauvin is in the courtroom but America is on trial,” Sharpton said to the crowd.

Downtown city buildings blocked out the sun as cold winds swirled through a small but determined crowd of a few dozen protesters next to the building that is surrounded by layers of barricades, high fences and razor wire.

Police are on duty and National Guard troops have been deployed, while few are allowed into the court itself, because of coronavirus.

In the early morning chill the family took a knee.

Protesters held signs that read, “Chauvin can you breathe?” and “Minneapolis will never forget George Floyd,” and “Mr. George Floyd is not in trial, Derek Chauvin is.

They chanted their demands for justice.

The city has been on edge waiting for one of the most historic police brutality trials in US history to get underway.

“I’m not looking forward to George being slandered and having all of his background brought up,” said Mikayla McKasy, a 23-year-old actor.

“There’s not one person in this world that can say that they haven’t done something negative in their past.”

Linnea Totushek, with the organization “Visual Black Justice”, said the trial is about police accountability.

“It’s not okay to let cops walk because they have a badge. They’re meant to protect and when you take a life they’re doing the exact opposite," 그녀가 말했다.

Justin Morris, the president of a community crisis organization in New York said he is concerned that the jury will not reach a verdict.

“I’m very worried. I’m worried for the state of America because George Floyd’s case has national implications,”그는 말했다.

“George Floyd woke up a nation. If this trial ends in a mistrial, I think we are going to see this nation implode.”

He continued: “I think that it is very vitally important that we send a message to the rest of the nation surrounding the police. Minnesota is in a unique place where they have the opportunity to show America what justice looks like. The ball is in Minnesota’s court right now.”

Morris is looking for a murder conviction.

“Justice is a conviction. A conviction to the highest degree of what this officer has been charged with would be appropriate,” adding, “I’m worried for the state of America because George Floyd’s case has national implications.”

Earlier in the day, one of Floyd’s brothers, Philonise Floyd, spoke on NBC TV and said that the family felt confident that this was a “slam dunk” case against Chauvin.

“He [Chauvin] killed my brother in broad daylight, it was a modern day lynching,” Philonise Floyd said.

The most serious charge Chauvin faces is second degree murder, which carries a maximum prison term of 40 연령.

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