Activists push for police accountability legislation amid Chauvin trial

A collection of Minnesota activist groups gathered Wednesday to urge lawmakers to pass police accountability legislation amid the Derek Chauvin Trial.

The groups who gathered included the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Racial Justice Network, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, Minnesota Justice Coalition and more.

Activist Michelle Gross with Communities United Against Police Brutality said that according to recent data, the Minneapolis Office of Police Conduct Review reported 3,434 citizen complaints in its 8-year history. Of the citizen complaints, 20 officers received discipline. Additionally, Gross reported that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin received 26 citizen complaints and was involved in six deadly force incidents, one of which resulted in the death of George Floyd.

"We have been to our city council over and over and over again," Gross said. "This is not new information."

Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR-MN, asked why Chauvin had not been put on trial prior to the death of George Floyd. He also said that community members need to look outside of the courtroom. 

Meanwhile, activist Nekima Levy-Armstrong said she is concerned about the jury's racial make-up.

"We need people of color on the jury…we need people who will stand up for racial justice," she said.