The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged of killing African-American man George Floyd under custody last May, has officially started.
Ahead of opening statements in the trial on Monday, members of the Floyd family and their legal team knelt in front of a Minneapolis courthouse for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the total duration that Chauvin knelt on the victim's neck while he was handcuffed, pinned to the pavement and made repeated pleas that he could not breathe, reports Xinhua news agency.
"Today starts a landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come on its quest for equality and justice for all," civil rights attorney Ben Crump said outside the courthouse on Monday.
"This murder case is not hard, just look at the torture video of George Floyd," said Crump.
Chauvin, fired by the Minneapolis Police Department after the video of the on May 25, 2020, incident went viral, faces second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder charges.
His attorneys are expected to argue that Floyd resisted arrest and had drugs in his system when he was being detained, which they argue could have reasonably led to his death, the The Hill news website said in a report.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
The three other former officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, who were on the scene also face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Their trial is expected to begin in August.
Floyd's death was ruled a homicide, with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's autopsy report revealing he died from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression".
Floyd's death triggered last year's massive protests against racial inequality and police brutality, across many US cities and also internationally.