The trial of former cop Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd has left Minneapolis “on edge,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said Sunday.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Omar, the city’s congressional representative, told host Jake Tapper that the trial’s start has re-opened the emotional wound from Floyd’s Memorial Day 2020 death.
“It’s been re-traumatizing,” said Omar, a Democrat. “It’s been really hard. I’ve tried to avoid watching. I know a lot of us here in Minneapolis have done that. … You also want to know the details and hear from the witnesses.
“I think the one part that’s stayed with me is the fact that everyone who took the witness stand said they felt helpless.”
Floyd, 46, was stopped by police after allegedly passing a bogus $20 bill at a Minneapolis store.
While attempting to arrest Floyd, who was black, one of the responding officers, Derek Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, even as he gasped that he could not breathe, pleaded for his life and eventually became unresponsive.
Floyd’s caught-on-video death launched coast-to-coast protests — and, sometimes, violent unrest — against police brutality and racial injustice.
Nearly a year later, the ongoing trial of the since-fired Chauvin, 45, on charges of murder and manslaughter has revived tension in the city, Omar said.
“The community is on edge,” she said Sunday when asked about the possibility of Chauvin not being convicted. “We have seen justice not delivered in our community for many years.
“I think that there is a lot of confidence in [Minnesota] Attorney General Keith Ellison and the prosecutors in this case, but we are all eagerly awaiting to see how this trial shakes out,” Omar added.
The lawmaker, however, accused Chauvin’s defense of attacking Floyd’s character in the trial’s first week.
“It’s been really horrendous to watch the defense put George Floyd on trial instead of the former police officer who’s charged with his murder,” she said.
The trial kicked off last Monday and is expected to last several more weeks.