All eyes were on Minneapolis on Monday as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, entered a key phase of the proceedings.
Inside the Hennepin County Government Center, the prosecution and defense made their opening arguments and began the process of questioning witnesses inside the 18th-floor courtroom.
Outside the high-rise building, city officials have taken measures to guard the area against any potential unrest that could arise during the high-profile trial. Metal fencing and concrete barriers were installed around the courthouse and National Guard troops are stationed outside.
Roughly a dozen protesters attempted to block traffic in the nearby streets as the trial unfolded Monday.
Here are some of the most compelling photos from outside the courthouse:
Above: Minnesota National Guard members patrol the outside of the Hennepin County Government Center during the opening statements in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on March 29 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, speaks alongside attorney Ben Crump (left) and Brandon Williams, nephew of George Floyd (right) during a news conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 29 in Minneapolis.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump escorts family members of George Floyd through a security checkpoint outside of the Hennepin County Government Center on March 29.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of George Floyd, speaks to the press before the start of the trial on March 29 in Minneapolis.
The Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis sits behind metal barriers on March 29.
“It’s a lot,” said one protester who identified himself only as Joe, describing the “high emotions” at play. “I’m hoping, I mean, realistically I doubt that Derek Chauvin’s gonna get convicted. But I hope that he actually does get convicted.”
A mock coffin sits in front of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on March 29.
Grunt Mezera of Minneapolis has been regularly participating in protests against racial injustice since uprisings began over George Floyd’s death in 2020. “It was said today, and it really hit me home, whiteness is on trial today,” said Mezera. “And the world that we live in where we believe whiteness is the norm, the right, the way it should be, is on trial. Because whiteness got us here.”
Attorney Ben Crump (left), Rev. Al Sharpton and Brandon Williams, nephew of George Floyd, take a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds at the Hennepin County Government Center on March 29.
Christ Forest waves Black Lives Matter flags on top of his car during the opening statements in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on March 29 in Minneapolis.
Writing can be seen on barriers that surround a building near the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on March 29.
Carolyn Ruff, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Women of Faith in Chicago, joined the protesters in the street. “If he’s not convicted, I feel sorry for America,” Ruff told HuffPost of Chauvin. “We want a conviction. He killed a human being. It’s only right that he be convicted. He’s not above the law,” she said. Ruff, who also protested the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, said “it really meant a lot” to be in Minneapolis for opening arguments in Chauvin’s trial. She said she’s likely to return to the city for what she hopes will be Chauvin’s conviction.
Protesters in front of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on March 29.
Stephen Parlato holds a sign that reads “America’s very soul is on trial” outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 29 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.