Minneapolis’s Native American Community Is Closely Watching the Chauvin Trial

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Minneapolis’s Native American Community Is Closely Watching the Chauvin Trial

The regular updates that Johnny Crow’s girlfriend gives him about the former officer Derek Chauvin’s trial trigger reminders of how the Native Amer

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The regular updates that Johnny Crow’s girlfriend gives him about the former officer Derek Chauvin’s trial trigger reminders of how the Native American community in Minneapolis rallied to support one another in the months after George Floyd died.

The American Indian Center, where Mr. Crow works, was near areas that were damaged in protests after Mr. Floyd’s death. Based in South Minneapolis, they organized community watches and gave members advice on those nights, he said. The threat of unrest during or after the trial is still a concern, Mr. Crow said.

“To hear the trial, it brings a lot of memories — definitely some worry,” Mr. Crow said. Community members are prepared to protect the area again, especially once a verdict is read, he said. “I think no matter what the verdict is, there will be people who are upset.”

Mr. Crow said he was encouraged to hear Medaria Arradondo, the police chief, testify on Monday that Mr. Chauvin had violated department policy when he knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

“That shouldn’t be allowed, to put a knee on somebody, especially someone that’s not resisting,” Mr. Crow said. “But, also, my experience is, on the South Side, if you press your knee on anyone’s neck, they are going to resist. That’s survival instinct.”

Mr. Crow said that in the American Indian Movement a prime directive was to protect community members from the police and the violence perpetrated against Native Americans.

“We will have community watch again,” he said. “It did help on Franklin Avenue. Just having people out there keeping watch.”

Mr. Crow recalled riding around the neighborhood after Mr. Floyd’s death and seeing the community’s pain. “It was really shocking,” he said. “A lot of people were hurt and angry. To see that firsthand, it was tough.”

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