Americas

Trial draws protests and gavel-to-gavel coverage.

By Tim Arango and Matt Furber

As the trial of Derek Chauvin began on Monday, local news channels were airing gavel-to-gavel coverage, while groups of protesters gathered on the streets demanding justice.

Members of George Floyd’s family joined the Rev. Al Sharpton and Ben Crump, a lawyer for their family, for a news conference and protest outside the courthouse, taking a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

The night before, the family had gathered for a prayer vigil at a church, placing the trial in the context of America’s long history of racism. Mr. Crump called the trial “a seminal moment in American history.”

“I believe in my heart of hearts,” he said, “that George Floyd will achieve something rare that most Black families never achieve in America and that is full justice.”

On Monday morning, at the intersection in South Minneapolis where Mr. Floyd died, people sat around a bonfire, discussing what would be unfolding a few miles away in the courtroom where Mr. Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, is on trial.

One woman said the value of Black life was on trial.

“Whiteness is on trial,” another woman shot back. “I am tired of Black bodies being the fulcrum of change in this country.”

It was a subdued gathering, with people taking coffee that was offered. Some people watched the proceedings from the trial on their phones. Others were walking through the memorial, some taking photos and selfies.

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