Derek Chavin murder trial to be streamed, televised

Minneapolis stations, cable networks to carry proceedings in the death of George Floyd

The landmark Derek Chavin murder trial began Monday and viewers can get a front row seat to one of the biggest legal proceedings in a generation. 

It’s a historic trial to begin with: it marks the first time a Minnesota criminal trial has been televised gavel-to-gavel from a courtroom in the state’s history. 

Chavin is being tried for murdering George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds on a south Minneapolis street last May 25, killing him. The action outraged people across the country and around the world, further propelling the Black Lives Matter movement and triggered several nights of rioting in Minneapolis and in neighboring St. Paul, and later spread to other cities across the country, including Chicago. 

Starting yesterday, Fox-owned KMSP in Minneapolis is providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Chavin trial from start to finish, lasting a few weeks. “All of us as a team agree [with the telecast decision] even if there are some sacrifices that need to be made,” KMSP GM Sheila Oliver told TVNewsCheck. “This is just such an important trial that we feel it is a public service of utmost importance to make sure we carry it gavel to gavel.”

Much of KMSP’s daytime lineup is being rerouted to co-owned sister station WFTC (My29). 

Also providing gavel-to-gavel coverage is CBSN Minnesota, run out of CBS-owned WCCO-TV. Other media outlets in the Twin Cities plan to stream the trial online and on social media, including MPR

The live courtroom coverage of the Chavin trial almost didn’t happen – the state did not want it televised but a judge decided to grant permission anyway. Cameras in the courtroom have been a hot topic for years, with many calling for their banishment after the O.J. Simpson trial, which dragged on for over a year. But states now allow them (except federal trials) with Illinois (not surprisingly) being one of the last holdouts before jumping on board. 

In 2018, now-defunct local cable news channel CLTV carried live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Jason Van Dyke trial, though it wasn’t the first criminal trial in Illinois to receive such treatment. In 1989, Miami PBS station WLRN carried the William Lozano trial gavel-to-gavel in order to defuse the city’s sky-high racial tensions. In both cases, each policeman was on trial for murdering an unarmed black man.

Outside of the Twin Cities, CNN and MSNBC plan to carry some of the trial, while Court TV plans to carry gavel-to-gavel coverage, on linear TV (over WGN-DT 9.3) and online. You can also access CBSN Minnesota’s coverage online and on CBSN and Pluto TV channel 1028. 

Even though KMSP plans to go all in on coverage, the same cannot be said for sister cable network Fox News – they have no plans to cover any of the trial at all. 


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