Protesters say the numbers still don’t add up.
“One down,” said the Rev. Brian Herron, at a spontaneous rally near the spot Floyd was killed.
“Three to go,” the crowd assembled there responded.
In what Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman described as “extraordinarily fast” legal action in charging Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, people gathered but made it clear they weren’t appeased or impressed with the speed.
“They did not move fast,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Hussein spoke at the rally on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue Friday afternoon.
“(Freeman) has the ability to put a hold charge on them,” Hussein said. “The system works when they want it to work.”
Freeman said he expects charges to be filed against the other three officers who either helped hold Floyd down or did nothing as he begged for help. Video shows Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he told officers he couldn’t breathe.
The charges are also a source of frustration. Community leaders said Chauvin should be facing harsher charges.
“They were not startled,” Hussein said. “Nine minutes of choking someone to death … it’s beyond premeditated murder.”
Leaders said marches, rallies and protests will continue until the other officers are charged. Only then can the community begin to rebuild, said Brother Uthman, assistant Imam at Masjid Ni’mat ul-Islaam.
“After that happens, hopefully we can rebuild and change the way we do policing in our community,” he said.
On a normal Friday, Uthman would be preparing and delivering a sermon at Masjid Ni’mat ul-Islaam, which is in the lower level of Cup Foods, the business near where officers confronted Floyd. Chauvin held him down on the street next to the store.
Flowers and a temporary memorial were erected at the site where Floyd died.
Friday, Uthman had a larger audience for his sermon. The afternoon rally remained peaceful, as did protesters facing off with police near the Third Precinct police station on Lake Street that protesters burned Thursday night.
Leaders urged people to keep the rallies peaceful.
“There are people trying to sabotage this movement,” Uthman said.
“This ain’t no ‘hood, this is our community,” said Rev. Brian Herron.
Abdi and Laila Dafar brought their two children, Hanna, 4, and Zakaria, 11, to the afternoon rally at Chicago Avenue.
“I wanted them to see up close and understand the gravity of what happened,” Abdi Dafar said.
He said he hopes things don’t return to normal, in part because he’s concerned for his son’s safety as he gets older.
Jayce Green, 6, paused before a mural of Floyd’s likeness painted on the side of a building on 38th Street.
“Mom, why did police kill this person,” he asked. “He didn’t even kill anyone or rob a bank.”
His mother, Leora Green, said she wasn’t sure how to answer the question.
“I don’t know if I have the words to explain,” she said.
Although crowds remained peaceful through the early evening, both St. Paul and Minneapolis are under an 8 p.m. curfew and people didn’t seem eager to leave the streets.
On Thursday, protests turned violent with looting and fires.
St. Paul’s battered Midway neighborhood rallied to tend to storefronts that were ransacked on Thursday. Groups of people toting brooms and dustpans walked up and down University Avenue where several businesses were burned.
Matthew Guerry contributed to this report.