The Potluck

Floyd family ‘disappointed’ that only one family member will be allowed at Chauvin trial

By: - March 2, 2021 2:34 pm

Family members of George Floyd stand for 8 minutes 46 seconds of silence at his memorial in Minneapolis.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter A. Cahill issued an order Monday allowing only one family member of both Derek Chauvin and George Floyd to be in the courtroom for Chauvin’s trial. Different family members are allowed to rotate in and out each day when the trial begins Monday in downtown Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Government Center.

The former Minneapolis police officer goes on trial next week for second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd outside Cup Foods on May 25, which sparked protests across the globe.

The lawyers representing Floyd’s family said Tuesday just one seat in the courtroom is not adequate.

”This has been a deeply painful and emotional year for every member of the Floyd family, many of whom intended to be in the courtroom to witness this trial,” said Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci in a press release. “While they understand the judge’s reasons to limit attendance in the courtroom, the family is understandably disappointed by this ruling. The family is looking forward to the start of the trial as a critical milestone on the path to justice and a step toward closure in this dark chapter of their lives.”

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, couldn’t be reached for comment.

The order also limits those allowed on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial will occur, to two members of the press chosen by the media coalition and requires that jurors be escorted in and out of the courthouse. Only four members of the prosecution are allowed, and three lawyers for the defense.

John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for Attorney General Keith Ellison, said the office didn’t have any comment on the decision. 

The high-profile trial has led the city to put up unprecedented fortifications including barbed wire fencing around City Hall and the Hennepin County Government Center. Over 1,000 outside police officers and 2,000 National Guard troops will also be deployed to prevent rioting like that which reduced dozens of buildings in Minneapolis to rubble last year when Floyd was killed.

The trial will be live-streamed due to high interest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January, Cahill ordered that Chauvin be tried separately from the other three officers involved in the case — a decision that Ellison publicly disagreed with. Former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter and will be tried in August. 

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Gracie Stockton
Gracie Stockton

Gracie Stockton is a senior at the University of Minnesota. She was awarded the 2021 Kaufman scholarship from the Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication and joined the Reformer as an intern. Gracie also studies theatre and Russian, and is an artist in her free time.