Families of people killed in police altercations plan positive change as Chauvin trial starts

A coalition of families and activists made their intentions very clear on Friday, saying they will be a loud voice for change throughout the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Jury selection for Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd is set to begin next week. Chauvin is the first of four former police officers facing trial in Floyd's death last May. Ahead of the trial, the coalition is trying to make sure the attention and energy focused on the trial can have a positive impact outside the courtroom.

"What we seen with the uprise with George Floyd was not the result of only one man’s life," said Toshira Garroway.

"And we’re just going to fight, we’re going to fight until we can’t fight anymore," said Matilda Smith.

A coalition of families who’ve lost loved ones to police violence hopes this can be the moment they seize to change things.

"But we stand here today in unity and in force," said Valerie Castile. "We’re here in force. We are here, we are making a statement today."

"We are tired of being the quiet rain that gets washed away," said Paul Johnson. "Our stories will be the thunder and lightning and torrents of wind for justice."

"All of our children makes mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, but no one has the right to kill them and then cover it up to say they’re such a horrible person," said Betty Smith.

In all their cases, they believe police got away with murder -- either by concealing the truth or being too protected.

"Our communities don’t want lip service; we want commitment through our elected leaders, giving these bills a hearing, and a vote," said Johnathon McClellan.

They are pushing for nine specific reforms, such as mental health responses to independent investigators to two-day release of body camera video. With the belief that George Floyd’s death and now Derek Chauvin’s trial can be about more than those two men.

"Because we want this to stop, our kids deserve a chance to live," said Valerie Castile.