US protesters call for justice ahead of George Floyd murder trial
Minneapolis residents braced for the opening on Monday of what is sure to be one of the nation’s most closely watched trials in years — that of the white policeman charged with killing George Floyd, a Black man whose dying struggles were captured on a video seen around the world.
Jury selection begins at 8:00 am (1400 GMT), though final debates over the exact charges against Derek Chauvin — the now former city officer who used his knee to pin a pleading, gasping Floyd by the neck to the pavement for nearly nine minutes — could yet delay the proceedings.
For now, Chauvin is facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. He has been released on bail and will appear in court.
Floyd’s death laid bare already sore racial wounds in the United States, sparking months of sometimes violent protests against racial injustice and police brutality, both in the US and abroad.
Lawyers for both sides face the difficult task of finding jurors who, in the intensely publicised case, have not already made up their minds about Chauvin’s guilt.
The process is expected to take up to three weeks, with arguments slated to begin on March 29.
But protesters already gathered near the courthouse on Sunday, with many holding up “Black Lives Matter” placards and demanding “justice for George Floyd.”
Chauvin’s case promises to be extraordinary: it will feature star attorneys, be held under tight security and be livestreamed.
It will also be watched as a potential marker of change in a country that recently elected its first Black vice president, but where police officers historically have often escaped punishment for abusive acts.
It will feature gripping testimony, as foreshadowed Sunday by Benjamin Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney representing the Floyd family…..read more