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‘An open wound still’: community members protest dismissal motion

Judge Peter Cahill started the hearing by saying dismissal motions wouldn’t be discussed. Decisions have yet to be made regarding relocation or an anonymous jury.
Image by Emily Urfer
Protesters gather outside of the Hennepin County Family Justice Center in response to motions made by the police officers involved in George Floyd’s murder on Friday, Sep. 11. The four former officers filed motions to be tried separately.

Franco Holder’s life matters.
On Friday, he — along with almost 200 other community members — came out to make sure the court system in Minneapolis knew that.
“I’m protesting for my life,” he said. “[If the charges get dismissed], that says that Black lives don’t matter in the justice system. I matter — we matter — and we will shout until they understand that we’re not ever going away.”
Community members gathered outside the Hennepin County Family Justice Center early Friday morning to protest the dismissal motions of the four former officers involved in George Floyd’s killing.
The lawyers for the four former officers filed motions to dismiss the murder charges against their clients, but the presiding judge, Peter Cahill, started the hearing by saying the dismissal motions would not be discussed Friday. The hearing centered around other plans for the trial: relocation of proceedings, an anonymous jury, holding separate trials for the four former officers and other issues.
No decision was made yet about relocation or an anonymous jury, as reported by Kare 11.
Cahill removed the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office from the case. He also said Floyd’s prior interactions with police cannot be used in the case — although this could be revisited during the trial. Further decisions will be announced by Cahill in writing by mid-October, according to Kare 11.
Outside the hearing, the “NO to dismissing the charges of George Floyd’s killers” demonstration, hosted by various local groups dedicated to racial justice, sustained high energy in the chilly overcast morning in downtown Minneapolis.
Drums and chants — including “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell,” and the call-and-response, “Say his name: George Floyd” — flooded the barricaded block. Multiple die-ins were held during the protest, where people laid on the ground for eight minutes and 46 seconds to represent the amount of time thenn-officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, killing him.
Many came out due to the personal impact racism and police brutality have had in their own lives.

Some protestors, like Wesley Ferguson, showed up to stand against racial profiling in their day-to-day lives. Ferguson describes himself as a “suspect for every crime” as a Black man reaching 6 feet tall.
“I get pulled over once a month and seeing what happened to this country, any month can be my time once I see those lights,” Ferguson said. “These cops need to go to jail and this whole system needs to be changed.”
Ericka McKenzie, 29, said has multiple family members who have been brutalized or killed by the police.
“I want to see some justice,” McKenzie said. “Any justice leads to a better future for me. … It would be ridiculous if they dismissed the charges. At that point, there’d be no hope for the U.S.”
Many of those who came out are longtime activists.
Donnie Mezera brought a marching drum to keep the energy up in the crowd. Mezera said he has taken part in demonstrations since the 2012 shooting of Travyon Martin.
“Personally, I’ve been at this for a very long time,” Mezera said. “It’s good to see everybody showing up and actually doing it, and I want them to keep doing it. Not just when it’s really comfortable.”
Tori Gens, a medic with Justice Frontline Aid (JFA), came ready with water, snacks, and tear gas solution.
Donned in a bulletproof neon vest, the 18-year-old Navy-hopeful said while JFA likes to support peaceful demonstrations, they’re more than prepared if things don’t stay that way.
“We’re always pretty much ready for something to happen, because you can never trust [MPD] or when they’re going to respond with violence,” Gens said. “We’re just happy to get to show up.”
Kayla Larson has been moving away from the movement and protesting due to mental health reasons. However, she said if charges were dismissed, she’s more than ready to continue fighting.
“It honestly just feels like an open wound still,” Larson said. “They’re killing innocent people. People that look like me, people that are ‘more intimidating’ than me because their skin is darker — it hurts my heart to see.”
Judge Cahill is initially expecting two weeks for jury selection and four weeks for the trial, as reported by Kare 11. A date was not announced for a pre-trial hearing, considering one happens. The trial — or trials, if the officers are tried separately — would begin March 2021.
“I was there for the first few nights of the uprising, and I won’t be afraid to go back,” said 21-year-old Grover Hogan. “I am ready to show up and show out. … I will not be afraid to go back out there with milk of magnesia and goggles and helmets if I need to. I do not care. I’d rather die out in the streets for justice than by a cop who’s bored.”

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  • Tom
    Sep 16, 2020 at 10:42 am

    The idiocy is just astounding.

    These people speak in slogans about things they don’t understand on any level.