MINNEAPOLIS -- On the day that a judge found former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao, representatives from the United Nations visited Minneapolis to hear about the impacts of police violence.
It was a chance for some to tell their stories in front of an international body. The representatives sat with the Urban League in North Minneapolis to hear about racial injustice and police brutality in Minnesota.
U.N. Advocacy Consultant Kerry McLean said it was George Floyd's murder that was the "impetus for this global uprising, which is probably the largest sustained uprising perhaps in history."
Though it was Floyd's murder that brought the experts to Minneapolis, many other families filled the room.
"My greatest fear as a parent with a child who is autistic was I would get a call that the police had murdered my son," said Amity Dimock-Heisler. Her son Kobe was killed by Brooklyn Center police in 2019, and the family has sinceagainst the city and four of its officers.
The testimony was so emotional, the group had to take breaks and do breathing exercises to help people feel centered.
"It's definitely difficult to listen to these stories, but I think for the people testifying they are so happy to have a voice they are happy to tell their stories to this international body. They are happy to be engaged in advocacy and so it's all worth it," said McLean.
A report containing cases of police violence from cities like Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Minneapolis was given to the U.N. Human Rights Council that led to the community meeting on Tuesday.
"Unless you are in it, unless you are in this country it's really hard to see how bad it is," said Courteney Ross, George Floyd's significant other. "And I hope the United Nations can press the United States to make some big changes. I feel like since Floyd has passed there have been minute changes and more changes in the mindsets of people but not system changes."
The family members all had demands, and all wanted transformative change, especially when it comes to young people and the justice system.
Elizer Darris, a former teen offender, spoke out against putting people in solitary confinement.
"It's so dehumanizing, it's literally designed to break you before you even understand your own humanity. It's designed to break your humanity," Darris said.
The U.N. will meet separately with government officials and other stakeholders to discuss solutions.
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