The shocking images of the death of Floyd, 46, on May 25, sparked a wave of "Black Lives Matter" protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States and in capitals around the world.
Nine months after George Floyd's death sheds new light on the racial issue in the United States, the trial against the white police officer accused of murdering him begins on Monday.
The jury ion begins Monday in Minneapolis in the case against Derek Chauvin, a former Minnesota Police Department agent (MPD), who was filmed pressing his knee to Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while the African American detained, who was handcuffed, struggled to breathe.
The shocking images of the death of 46-year-old Floyd, on May 25, sparked a wave of “Black Lives Matter” protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States and in capitals around the world.
Chauvin's case promises to be unprecedented in many ways: it will feature famous lawyers, it will be conducted under strong security and will be broadcast live.
The Minnesota Attorney General's office summoned Neal Katyal, a former interim attorney general who argued before the Supreme Court, to help with the prosecution.
Katyal described the Chauvin trial as a "historic criminal case, one of the most important in history" in the United States.
Ashley Heiberger, a former police officer who now works as a consultant on police practices, said that "the fact that a police officer has been criminally accused of abusive use of force is, in itself, an exception."
"It is even more rare that they are convicted," she added.
"There is a tendency for the jury to want to give the police the benefit of the doubt," she points out.
However, the circumstances surrounding the 44-year-old Chauvin case are so worrying that "no police or police organization has come out to defend its act," she explains.
Three other officers involved in Floyd's arrest, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, face minor charges and will be tried separately.
All four involved in the case were dismissed by the Minneapolis Police Department.
"Exactly what I was trained for"
Chauvin, who has served in the police for 19 years, was released on bail in the fall and is expected to plead not guilty to charges of murder and wrongful death.
"He acted in accordance with MPD policy, his training and his duties as a licensed Minnesota state officer," said his lawyer, Eric Nelson.
"He did exactly what he was trained to do," he added.
According to Nelson, Floyd died of an overdose of fentanyl. An autopsy found traces of the drug in Floyd's body, but specified that the cause of death was "neck compression".
Ben Crump, a lawyer representing the Floyd family, said on Saturday that he expects the defense team to question the character of the African American.
"They are going to try to make people forget what they see in the video," he said.
It will take a unanimous decision by all 12 jurors to put Chauvin behind bars.
If the police officer is not convicted, there is likely to be a new wave of demonstrations against racism.
Authorities mobilized thousands of police and members of the National Guard to assist with security during the trial.
The Hennepin County Courthouse, the trial will take place, already looks like an armed camp, surrounded by concrete barriers and barbed wire fences.
The trial will start on Monday at 8am local (2pm GMT) with the ion of the jury, a delicate process considering the widespread publicity surrounding the case.
Potential jurors received a 15-page questionnaire.
"How favorable or unfavorable are you about Black Lives Matter?" Is one of the questions.
“Have you seen a video of George Floyd's death? If so, how many times? ” or "Did you, or someone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality?", also appear in the questionnaire.
Prosecutors are expected to present the testimony of a black woman who claims that Chauvin used excessive force against her in 2017, and also that the teenager who filmed Floyd's death be called to testify.