Dozens of people gathered in front of the Minnesota governor’s mansion Saturday to demand accountability for police officers, days before a former Minneapolis officer is scheduled to go on trial in the death of George Floyd.
Many of the roughly 150 people who demonstrated in Minnesota were family members of others who died during police encounters. Similar protests were being organized in cities around the country in advance of the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while Floyd was held face-down on the ground in handcuffs, saying he could not breathe. Body-camera video time stamps provided by prosecutors show Chauvin held his position for about nine minutes, even after Floyd stopped moving. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and jury selection in his trial begins Monday.
Saturday’s protest in Minnesota was organized by Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, a coalition of families who lost loved ones in police confrontations. The Star Tribune reports speakers said, in light of Floyd’s death, they want other fatal police encounters reopened and examined.
In Massachusetts, supporters of families who lost loved ones during police encounters also gathered in Boston’s South End. Protest organizer Brock Satter told WBZ radio: “We’ve called a demonstration to demand the conviction of all these officers starting with Derek Chauvin in this upcoming trail. We’re demanding convictions. They should go to jail for their crimes.”
Supporters of Massachusetts families whose loved ones have been killed by police rallied in Boston on Saturday as part of a national day of action.
Mass Action Against Police Brutality, a local advocacy group, said it organized the afternoon gathering in Peters Park in the city’s South End neighborhood.
The organization said similar events were taking place in at least 17 other states Saturday, including California, New York, Ohio, Texas, Florida, and Georgia.
The rallies are timed just ahead of the expected March 8 start of the trial of the former police officer, Derek Chauvin, charged in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.
Mass Action Against Police Brutality says the rallies are the next step in a series of “family-first events and activities” aimed at underscoring the central demands of the families: prosecuting police officers and reopening police brutality cases.
Among the local cases the organization wants reopened are the killings by police of DJ Henry, Eurie Stamps, Malcolm Gracia, Burrell Ramsey-White, Ross Batista, Usaamah Rahim, Terrence Coleman, and Juston Root.
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