Members of George Floyd’s family drew attention to the way he died by kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds outside the courthouse holding the trial for former police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder for killing Floyd during his arrest last May, when the former Minneapolis officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for minutes on end, ignoring his pleas that he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial began today, March 29, in the heavily fortified court building in downtown Minneapolis.
In recognition of Chauvin’s actions, members of Floyd’s family, along with Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Benjamin Crump, decided to take a knee outside the courthouse building before going inside for the beginning of the trial.
Sharpton explained that the family chose to kneel for eight minutes and 46 seconds ‘to show the world how long it took for Chauvin to have his knee on that neck.’
CNN notes that while this was the amount of time given in the original complaint, the Hennepin County Attorney’s office has said it was actually seven minutes and 46 seconds.
Floyd’s death prompted worldwide Black Lives Matter protests and calls for justice for Black people harmed by police officers, and his family were joined by some of these supporters as they knelt during the silent vigil.
Speaking in a news conference this morning, Sharpton said:
We are taking a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, and we want you to think of during that time why Chauvin didn’t, in that time, get his knee up.
Sharpton noted that Floyd’s family is preparing to hear Chauvin’s defense team smear the name of their loved one and attempt to discredit him during the trial.
He said that the family ‘will go through a very painful and very tumultuous few weeks’, adding: ‘It’s not only bad enough that they had to lose their brother, their loved one but they now have to, in front of the world, see this over and over again.’
Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, has thanked the protesters who have stood up for justice for his brother and said that he has ‘hope’ Chauvin will get convicted.
A conviction on any of the charges faced by Chauvin will require the jury to return a unanimous verdict. Following Floyd’s death, the former officer was held at a maximum security prison for about five months until he posted a $1 million bail bond in October 2020.
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Topics: News, Black Lives Matter, Derek Chauvin, George Floyd, Minneapolis, Now, Police
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