In a courtroom in a well-barricaded tower in downtown Minneapolis, a judge this week — and for days to come — is presiding over jury selection for the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Needed are more than a dozen conscientious citizens willing and able to set aside what they already know, feel and believe about one of the most radioactive deaths in Minnesota history. The death last Memorial Day of George Floyd at the knee of Chauvin, then a Minneapolis police officer, sparked nights of rioting in the Twin Cities and elsewhere.
It hardly the first case of civil unrest from a populace that feels itself less protected by police than oppressed. This nation has had decades of such incidents. Watts in 1965. Detroit in 1967. Ferguson in 2014. Kenosha in 2020. But the death of Floyd felt different; the nation, indeed the world, has seen the video of Chauvin kneeling nonchalantly on Floyd’s neck for as much as nine minutes as the Black man pleaded to be allowed to breathe.