Minneapolis rallies earlier than anniversary of George Floyd killing | Black Lives Matter Information
People gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ahead of the year-long anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, which sparked mass protests in the United States for an end to police violence against blacks.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder last month after holding his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest on May 25 last year.
On Sunday, protesters gathered outside the Hennepin County government center, where Chauvin’s trial was held, to commemorate Floyd’s life and to demand action to combat police violence and racism against black people.
The George Floyd Memorial Foundation, a group founded by Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd, said the event aims to “demonstrate our continued call for accountability and reform as the right to equal justice is not tied to an individual’s skin color should be”.
On the occasion of the anniversary on Tuesday, several other rallies and events will take place in the USA.
“The day is very near,” Bridgett Floyd told reporters earlier this week, as reported by KARE11, a Minneapolis-based subsidiary of NBC News.
“And I feel as close as the days when I get a little stronger than last year, and that’s because I’ve been through so much this past year. I have no choice but to be strong and carry this weight and carry this position that God has put me in. Because I didn’t see it coming, neither of us did, ”she said.
“A step in the right direction”
Reverend Al Sharpton, a prominent U.S. civil rights activist, was in Minneapolis on Sunday to join the Floyd family. He said, “not only has he suffered the pain, but he was also the one who stood up for justice on this matter”.
“Chauvin’s verdict was a step in the right direction, but it was a step,” Sharpton told MSNBC ahead of the rally. “We still have a long way to go. I am glad we are on the right track, but we have to keep going. “
Last month, US President Joe Biden called Chauvin’s conviction of three criminal charges related to Floyd’s murder a “step forward.”
,I can not breath. ‘Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let her die with him. We need to keep hearing them. We must not turn away. We cannot turn away. This can be a moment of significant change, ”Biden said at the time.
But activists and others have questioned how much has actually changed in the year since Floyd’s death.
“Every time you turn the news on, a black man has either been knocked down or murdered by the police – and they’re unarmed,” James Shoals, a Minneapolis resident who attended the rally, told Al Jazeera. “We’re not getting the justice we deserve,” Shoals said.
Police Reform Act
Meanwhile, Biden will host the Floyd family at the White House on Tuesday, US media reported this weekend.
His administration has asked Congress to pass police reform laws before the anniversary of Floyd’s assassination, but that effort has stalled and U.S. lawmakers will likely miss Tuesday’s deadline.
Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who is involved in bipartisan negotiations on the law – known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act – told CNN on Sunday that “significant progress” had been made but no agreement had been reached.
“We are making good progress, hopeful progress, but we still have a lot to do,” said Booker.
Racial justice activists have also pointed out that police violence against blacks has continued since Floyd’s murder a year ago, fueling ongoing calls to action.
Just this week, Louisiana police released footage showing the violent arrest in May 2019 of a black man who died in hospital after the incident.
A protester holds a sign during a demonstration the day after a guilty verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd [File: Brian Snyder/Reuters]Officers originally said Ronald Greene died after his car hit a tree during a police chase, but the footage shows police pulling Greene out of his car and then repeatedly handcuffing, beating and violating him. The case is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation, The Associated Press said.
“We need laws that hold officers accountable,” tweeted Congresswoman Karen Bass, chairwoman of the Black Caucus of Congress, who also negotiates the police reform law, Thursday over Greene’s death.
“We really thought my brother’s death would be the latest case of police brutality,” said Bridgett Floyd this week as well. “But as we can all see, they are there over and over again.”
She said she was confident that the law on police reform would be passed, KARE11 reported.
“These police officers must be held accountable for their actions,” she said. “So they can know that if they break the law, if they take a loved one away from someone, they will think twice about it.”