As Derek Chauvin trial looms, city plans to reopen George Floyd Square, Walz readies National Guard, residents organize events

File: George Floyd memorial at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

The City of Minneapolis plans to reopen George Floyd Square at 38th & Chicago, which community members have shut down since police killed Floyd at the intersection on May 25. The reopening won’t happen until after a verdict is rendered on former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is going on trial March 8 for second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Chauvin will be tried separately from three other former Minneapolis police officers charged in aiding and abetting in Floyd’s death. The Minnesota Court of Appeals today rejected an appeal by prosecutors to delay the trial until later this summer and to try all four defendants together, the Star Tribune reported.

Gov. Tim Walz agreed to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to quell any unrest that might follow the trial, MPR reports. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul had sought the help.

Meanwhile, various groups are planning educational events and prayer vigils around the trial.

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Charges brought in George Floyd’s murder, greater work remains around systemic racism, police reforms

Officer Derek Chauvin remained kneeling on Floyd’s neck even after another officer said he couldn’t find Floyd’s pulse.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced today at a press conference. He expected to bring charges against the other three police officers at the scene who failed to intervene, but those cases are still under review, he said.

People not only want justice for Floyd but they want and deserve systemic change, both to address the underlying problems of structural racism and the long-standing problems at the Minneapolis Police Department that Floyd’s case represents. That work requires that we speak clearly and directly to explain the causes and conditions that led to Floyd’s murder. Continue reading