Minneapolis mayor reaches out to community as Derek Chauvin trial approaches

Derek Chauvin leaving one of his court appearances. The former Minneapolis police officer is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd. (FOX 9)

With the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin less than 10 days away, uncertainty is growing about safety in the coming months.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey hosted community conversations at Park Avenue Church and Urban League Twin Cities on Saturday, discussing with the community all that is to come.

"This trial is the culminating event of a barrage of year-long trauma," Mayor Frey said. "The coming weeks are going to be tough. We recognize that."

Frey says he is trying to rise to the moment, "not just doing press conferences from City Hall but actually reaching out and hearing directly from the community."

"It means a lot to us that you would come and be here with folks and listen to questions and concerns," said Park Avenue Church Pastor Gregg Taylor.

"I’m pleased that he’s being frank and telling his own his truth," neighbor James Toussaint added.

The Mayor said the purpose of the conversations was not for him to talk, but rather, to listen.

"To hear what’s going on with them and then sort of a mutuality of support begin to develop," Taylor explained.

"We will all be re-traumatized by these events; the spectacle of Derek Chauvin explaining away, trying to defend the actions we all saw on video," Steven Belton said.

But, Frey hopes relationships with the community will help him to balance law and order with the right to peacefully protest.

"This is probably the toughest moment Minneapolis has ever been through," Frey said. "We need to recognize the magnitude of the moment and simultaneously keep people safe."

Still, Frey says he believes this "go-around" will be different, because city leaders have had time to prepare for it, and they know what to expect.