A helicopter whirred overhead on a sunny, yet chilly and windy morning on Monday in downtown Minneapolis, where the streets were largely empty and calm ahead of the big trial.
A scrum of reporters gathered on the lawn just south of the courthouse, where members of Mr. Floyd’s family and their lawyers held a news conference ahead of opening statements. Terrence Floyd, one of Mr. Floyd’s brothers, reflected on experiencing the emotions of another high-profile police killing when Sean Bell was fatally shot in Queens, near where Terrence Floyd lived.
“To see no justice in that situation, it made me furious,” Mr. Floyd said, referring to the acquittal of all of the officers in that case. He hoped that things would be different in the case involving the death of his brother.
“They say trust the system,” he said. “Well this is your chance to show us we can trust you.”
In the distance, you could hear the faint chants of a few protesters. Several people lined up behind the Floyd family holding signs of the support.
“We got your back” and “stronger together,” the signs read.
A national guardsman paced in the distance on a balcony outside of the courthouse that overlooked the lawn. There were temporary concrete and metal barricades encircling some of the government buildings downtown, and national guard members stood alongside state police officers. There were also sand-colored armored vehicles sitting outside.
“We need to pray that America can live up to its high ideals,” said Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing the Floyd family.
At 8:46 a.m., the Floyd family and supporters took a knee for 8 minutes 46 seconds in recognition of the approximate amount of time that Mr. Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck.