Speed Reads

Derek Chauvin murder trial

George Floyd's family, supporters hold rally and prayer vigil on eve of Derek Chauvin trial

With all 12 jurors and three alternates selected, the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin gets started with opening statements Monday. On Sunday, civil rights groups and the family of George Floyd, the Black man who died after being asphyxiated under Chauvin's knee, held rallies and vigils in Minneapolis. Chauvin, who is white, is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. His high-profile trial is expected to last about four weeks.

After a rally downtown Sunday afternoon, national civil rights leaders and a few dozen supporters joined Floyd's family held a prayer vigil at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. "We're trying to get on the front end of all of this to prepare peoples' minds and hearts for what's about to happen," said Rev. Billy G. Russell, the church's pastor. "Everybody's on edge right now."

Floyd's brothers asked for justice, civil or divine. "My brother complied," Philonise Floyd said during the service, which also included prayers and song. "He said 'I can't breathe.' He said 'mama.' He said 'tell my kids I love them.' ... Nobody should have to go through that, nobody should have to endure that."

Rev. Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network, said "the criminal justice system is on trial tomorrow," noting that police officers in several previous deaths of Black people faced no charges at all. "Chauvin is in the court room, but America is on trial." He added that Sunday's vigil was also to support the Floyd family. "I wanted them to know we're with them," Sharpton said. "We will be there with them until the end."