Family and friends of George Floyd gathered for a vigil in Minneapolis on Sunday (March 28), a day before the trial begins for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of Floyd.
“The criminal justice system is on trial tomorrow. Chauvin is in the courtroom, but America is on trial,” Reverend Al Sharpton told those gathered for the vigil.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, saying he was following police training during the deadly arrest of Floyd on May 25, 2020, on suspicion of passing a fake $20 bill.
A bystander’s video showed Chauvin, who is white, with his knee on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who begged for his life during the arrest.
Sharpton told the crowd to be prepared to hear negative things about Floyd when court proceedings begin on Monday (March 29).
“Don’t tell me George’s background. Tell me Chauvin’s background while he was on that corner as an officer that morning,” Sharpton said.
Floyd’s brothers, as well as several religious leaders spoke at the event which included a poetry reading and a choral performance.
(Production: Deborah Gembara)