Floyd’s family members gathered outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis shortly before opening arguments in the trial of the police officer charged with his killing to demand accountability from the state.
“Today starts a landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come in its quest for equality and justice for all,” said Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family.
“Derek Chauvin should be held criminally liable for the death of George Floyd,” he said, calling Chauvin’s treatment of Floyd “torture.”
Crump, who was part of the legal team that helped the Floyd family secure a record $27 million wrongful death settlement from Minneapolis over Floyd’s death in police custody, called the civil suit victory only one component of the full accountability the family demands.
“His family is deserving of whole justice,” Crump shouted. “Black people in America should not have to get partial justice.”
Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams, echoed Crump, telling the crowd that either Chauvin and the other officers weren’t “trained and qualified to do their job, or they intended to take his life.”
“You mean to tell me if [Floyd] hadn’t encountered Derek Chauvin that day, he would have still died?” Williams said. “Anybody standing here today [who] believes that is still a problem in America.”
Williams spoke to how difficult the repeated trips to Minnesota have been for the Floyd family but said this most recent trip was easier with their hopes and purpose clear.
“We came here for one thing and one thing only: We came for justice, and nothing less,” Williams said. He disputed the notion that the trial against the officer charged with killing his uncle should be difficult.
“If people say this trial is hard, [then] we have two justice systems in America: one for White America people and one for Black,” Williams said. “Despite anything they say about my uncle, that was murder.”