The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Justin Henry,

Color of Change: Minneapolis Jurors, Spectators Must Remember That Derek Chauvin Is on Trial--Not George Floyd


Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change, issued this statement as witness testimony begins in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd:

"As a Hennepin County jury heard the facts in the case against former police officer Derek Chauvin, jurors must remember who's on trial--and who is not. Nearly a year ago, Derek Chauvin targeted George Floyd, pinned him to the street, and murdered him in broad daylight. Based on what we heard in opening remarks, the defense will try to slander Mr. Floyd's name and portray him as a criminal in a brazen but predictable attempt to justify Mr. Chauvin's actions. But Mr. Chauvin is the one standing trial--not Mr. Floyd--and there is simply no justification for murder.

"The defense team's strategy is a tired, overused tactic employed by police unions and associations nationwide: blame the victim. We have seen it used time and time again to protect officers accused of senseless, murderous crimes against Black people, including in the trials of former police officers Jason Van Dyke and Amber Guyger. In those particular cases, police union leaders jumped to the officers' defenses, mounting massive disinformation campaigns to shift the blame away from armed white police officers and criminalize Black murder victims. With Mr. Chauvin's case being the focus of national media attention, we fully expect the Police Federation of Minneapolis to do the same--just as they've done in the past.

"The issue with these groups--and with local police departments, in general--is a toxic culture of anti-Black racism and violence that allow for tragedies like Mr. Floyd's to happen. But under a proposal to amend the city charter, Minneapolis residents have an opportunity to upend that culture, dismantle the city's police force, push community-led public safety solutions through a Department of Community Safety. This proposal is a common-sense fix to a systemic issue that is costing Black people their lives.

"For now, however, Mr. Chauvin's fate lies in the hands of a jury. And for the sake of Mr. Floyd's loved ones and his entire Minneapolis community, we hope to see fairness and accountability in the trial's outcome."

Color Of Change is the nation's largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.