The Trial Is Upon Us
By Naasir Qaz
Almost a full year of anticipation for justice is nearing its summit. The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former MPD officer who was fired after kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes will begin next week. In the past few days downtown Minneapolis residents have seen critical parts of their city boarded up and encased with barriers, fences and barbed wire. It was these dramatic and stress inducing scenes that provided a backdrop to the local social justice coalitions press conference this morning.
The coalition addressed the dire surrounding with various organization leaders speaking to different aspects of the trial. Toshira Allen, a local organizer and founder of F.S.F.A.P.B. (Families Supporting Families Against Police Brutality) spoke about her own intimate experience with police brutality when her fiance Justin Teigen was killed by the SPPD. There was a parallel drawn and a question asked about why her family and so many other families of color are asked to be patient and trust in the system, when Justine Diamond’s family received justice in an orderly fashion.
Throughout the event’s various speakers, one message was clear. What the city is doing to fortify these government buildings seems an awful lot like an attempt to stifle their first amendment rights to protest. It was just yesterday that Mayor Frey expressed his support for protests, calling them “part of the grieving process, but also part of democracy”. However, the next speaker, MPD Deputy Chief of Patrol Erick Fors committed to putting up more fortifications and fences as part of their “Operation Safety Net”. The operation is intended to streamline communication between the national guard and MPD throughout the course of the trial.
With the international events that were sparked by the death of George Floyd, the pressure is on and the city of Minneapolis seems to be preparing for the worst.