Twenty-nine years after the officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted.
Twenty-one years after the officers who killed Amadou Diallo were acquitted.
Less than a decade since the officer who killed Michael Brown wasn’t indicted.
Less than a year since Breonna Taylor’s murderers weren’t indicted.
This week, police have been testifying against their own. Chauvin, who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes, is facing murder charges. Numerous officers, including the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), have taken the stand against Chauvin to defend their training and policies.
The day before jury selection began in early March, protesters in Minneapolis held a funeral in the streets. With police barricades as a backdrop, hundreds of people silently marched around the Government Center to honor Floyd and other victims of police violence.
Since Floyd was killed last May, there has been a steady drumbeat of protests in Minneapolis—often led by family members of police violence victims. The protests are both calls for justice and rituals of mourning. Parents, partners, and friends share their trauma in the hopes of preventing someone else’s. Time and time again, they recount their loved ones’ last minutes and honor their lives. A eulogy that never ends.
Outside the Hennepin County Government Center, protesters fixed padlocks to the fencing. On the locks, they’d written the names of police violence victims. George Floyd. Jamar Clark. Justin Teigen. Eric Garner. Police have repeatedly cut down the locks and removed signs from the fence. As of Monday, one of the remaining signs said: how do you spell murderer? mpd.
Inside the courthouse, the prosecution continues. But the cold language of the law is a far cry from the agony of loss—and grief does not require a verdict.
—Anna DalCortivo and Alyssa Oursler