Community members marched in downtown Minneapolis over the weekend, calling for justice for George Floyd.
Protestors pointed out there is a long history of police brutality against Black people in Minnesota… including Jamar Clark in 20-15 and Philando Castile in 20-17. Castile’s death was captured on video by his girlfriend, who live-streamed the incident. Yet, says Saint Paul School Board Member Chauntyll Allen, the officer involved was acquitted.
“With the Philando Castile case, we watched that brother get murdered. We watched the trial. We were hopeful when we saw that there were jurors of color. We thought that we could possibly get some justice… and still, there was no justice.” The difference with George Floyd’s death is that the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin is being live-streamed, for anyone to view in real-time. This is the first time that’s ever happened in Minnesota.
“We need this system to know that we’re watching,” said Allen. “It’s not just the Twin Cities, it’s not just the state of Minnesota. It’s not just the United States of America, but the whole entire world is watching this case.”
Tahlia Root, a student at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, says watching jury selection made her question the judicial process and its fairness.
“I watched it and it’s crazy because they’re trying to be impartial and I am just battling internally with ‘what is impartiality?’ Are you actually being impartial or are you just being complacent with the situation? And how do we seek justice while also being impartial?”
Derek Chauvin’s murder trial resumes Monday morning when attorneys will give their opening statements.
Samantha HoangLong reporting for the Racial Reckoning project
Photo Courtesy of Chioma Uwagwu