For millions of Americans, the brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police reinforced long-held suspicions about racial bias in the United States’ police departments. This month, the trial for the officer filmed with his knee on Floyd’s neck will begin, putting the spotlight again on the legal system’s handling of police killings of Black people. The press and public will be able to observe the trial — both in person and from their homes — and decide for themselves if the system they see is just and fair, thanks to the First Amendment’s promise of open courts.
The high-profile case has raised numerous First Amendment issues, including attempted gag orders, questions about public access to evidence in the case, and whether cameras would be allowed to expand public access, given public health considerations that restrict how many people can be in the courtroom.
Join First Amendment Watch and First Amendment Coalition for a conversation on March 24th at 2 p.m. ET about the importance of access to our courts, with a special focus on the George Floyd case. Hear from Leita Walker, a First Amendment lawyer for a Minneapolis media coalition that successfully won greater access to the cases, and First Amendment lawyers David Snyder and David L. Hudson Jr. First Amendment Watch staff writer Soraya Ferdman will moderate the discussion, and the virtual event will correspond with the release of our teachers guide on the right to access court proceedings and records.