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With Derek Chauvin's Trial Looming, Rally And Prayer Vigil Held In Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On the eve of a historic trial of a former Minneapolis police officer, prayers for George Floyd's family are filled with cries for justice.

Joined by a civil rights icon, Floyd's family led a prayer vigil, before heading to court Monday.

They accuse Derek Chauvin of killing Floyd during an arrest last May. The family is drawing on the strength of community to help them get through the next couple weeks, as they will relive the trauma of his death.

"One word that's stuck in my mind about this case is accountability," said Terrence Floyd, George's brother.

The vigil was held at the Greater Friendship Missionary Church in Minneapolis.

"I have faith [Chauvin] will get convicted," said Philonise Floyd, another brother of George's.

Rev. Al Sharpton
Rev. Al Sharpton (credit: CBS)

Reverend Al Sharpton spoke as well, saying it's not only Chauvin on trial, but the American criminal justice system, too. To applause, Sharpton and the Floyds thanked the protesters and marchers in Minneapolis for their continued dedication since last summer.

And indeed, earlier in the day Sunday, protesters marched through the streets of downtown Minneapolis to remind the world of their promise, "no justice, no peace."

"The bottom line is we're here for George Floyd and George Floyd's justice," said Chauntyll Allen with Black Lives Matter Twin Cities.

Allen says the trial's jury selection was a rare look inside a legal system she feels is tilted against people of color.

"We are not sleeping," she said. "We're paying attention and we're here until the end."

James McCaskel, a protester from Minneapolis, was spontaneously asked to speak at the protest.

"If the case go our way or it goes [Chauvin's] way, I'll be out here fighting," McCaskel said.

Light rail service downtown was temporarily paused as protesters blocked the tracks at two stations during their march. The rally ended with the group crowding the Hennepin County Government Center's fencing, chanting and shouting at the Minnesota National Guard troops inside.

Monday morning, the Floyd family, Sharpton and whoever wants to join them will be taking a knee outside the courthouse for eight minutes and 46 seconds, which is the amount of time prosecutors initially said Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck. A second review of the video showed it was nine minutes and 29 seconds.

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