Chauvin trial ends, but legacy lives on

Protestors take part in the “Justice for All Families” protest outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s mansion.

EMMA'LE MAAS, Executive Editor

Note: Our Executive Editor traveled to the Twin Cities for a class project and reported from the scene for this story.

“I know him!” a kid excitedly announced to his mom while pointing to a picture of Daunte Wright at the George Floyd memorial in Minneapolis.

“Say his name, baby, Daunte Wright,” the mother replied.

The kid repeated after his mom as they moved onto the next picture.

“I take him here to pay respects, but also to keep him informed,” the mother said. “These are his brothers and sisters, and it’s our job to not forget them.”

Just a few days after the Derek Chauvin trial concluded, the Minneapolis area now known as George Floyd Square is still lively as ever.

“This is George Floyd Square, but this square memorializes everyone lost to police violence. There’s photos and memorials everywhere for everyone across the country failed by the blue here, not just George,” said one Minneapolis resident.

At a protest called “Justice for All Families,” protestors waited outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s mansion in St. Paul. The event was organized by Natives Lives Matter, a Twin Cities organization which protests injustices from police brutality to missing indigenous people.

Organizer Toshira Garraway said, “If they would have listened to our families, to our pain, there would not be a George Floyd, there would not be a Daunte Wright.”

Kimberly Handy-Jones, the mother of Cordale Handy, who was killed by St. Paul police in 2017, spoke at the event to raise awareness. She brought up Chauvin’s past shootings, which the Minneapolis Police Department is now re-investigating, as well as the other two policemen at the scene.

While facing the mansion, Handy-Jones said, “If Black lives matter, then how did Derek Chauvin get away with all those killings? How was he there with George Floyd training new policemen? He was there with those new cops, showing them how you kill Black, brown and indigenous bodies.”

She continued to criticize the force’s training, referencing Kim Potter, the policewoman arrested for the death of Daunte Wright. Potter has said she mistook her gun for her taser, accidentally shooting and killing the 20-year-old.

“You mistook a taser for a gun? No, you ain’t confused. You were trained to kill Black, brown and indigenous bodies,” she said.

Handy-Jones also tackled the issue of white privilege.

“I don’t expect white people to understand what we go through, but I do expect you to get an education about it,” she said. “You’re going to be doctors, lawyers, you’ll be all of that, but when it comes to Black, brown and indigenous bodies, you have no education. You don’t have white privilege? Then who has it? If Cordale had it, he’d still be here standing with me. This isn’t coming from a place of being nasty or hate; this is coming from a place of being real, because this is my reality, police brutality.”

Handy-Jones concluded, “We will always stand up for the stolen lives, and the lives that are still here… Minnesota, stand up, stand strong and more importantly, stand together.”

Garraway then asked those who had lost a loved one due to police brutality to stand at the front of the crowd, and each recounted the names of the ones they lost. More than 10 families were present.

“If you only yell the names that are in the media, it’s almost like isolating the story. It makes the world believe that this is not a severe problem as it really is,” Garraway said. “You have to say the names of the people who were swept under the rug. You have to say the names of the stories that they covered up. It is the only way to show the severity of the truth of what is really going on. There were hundreds of murders that led up to George Floyd and Daunte Wright, and those families deserve just as much support.”

An attendee of the event who didn’t want to share her name due to possible job repercussions said, “George Floyd was a victory. But it doesn’t mean the work stops with him. This didn’t start with George Floyd, and unfortunately, we’ve seen it won’t end with him either.”

She continued, “I’m just hoping that one day my kids, or my kids’ kids, won’t have to worry about interacting with people who are supposed to be protecting them.”