MINNEAPOLIS — The second week of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kicked off Monday morning as attorneys seek to seat seven more jurors.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill and lawyers for defense and prosecution have been asking potential jurors about their previous knowledge of the case, whether they’ve seen it on the news and how they responded to a 13-page questionnaire. Twelve jurors and two alternatives will be selected.
Many prospective jurors last week expressed concerns about potentially serving on such a high-profile case, and some said they had already formed opinions about Chauvin based on what they had seen in videos of George Floyd’s death.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, and the judge allowed prosecutors to reinstate a third-degree murder charge last week.
Floyd died in police custody on May 25, 2020, when Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. As he lay on the ground under Chauvin, Floyd, who was Black, cried out “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. The incident sparked protests worldwide.
- Seven jurors were selected last week. Four of the jurors identify as white, one as multiracial, one as Hispanic and one as Black, according Judge Cahill. Six of the jurors are in their 20s or 30s, and one is in her 50s.
- On Friday, city leaders approved a $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd in a federal wrongful death lawsuit.
- Ben Crump, lead attorney for the Floyd family, said Friday he was following jury selection and hoped to see jurors seated “that will respect George Floyd and not devalue him because he was a Black man.”
- The judge has set aside at least three weeks for jury selection. Opening statements are scheduled no sooner than March 29.
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Here’s who has been seated on the jury for Chauvin’s trial
Seven jurors – five men and two women – have been chosen thus far to serve during Derek Chauvin’s trial. Given the circumstances of Floyd’s death – a Black man dying under the knee of a white police officer – the racial makeup of the jury is a key concern. Four of the jurors self-identify as white, one as multiracial, one as Hispanic and one as Black, according to the judge.
Among the jurors selected: a man who immigrated from Africa to the U.S., a chemist, a man who said he somewhat disagreed the criminal justice system is biased against minorities, a woman who said she was “super excited” to serve, a man who said he had a fairly negative view of Blue Lives Matter, and a groom will likely have to cancel his wedding to serve on the jury.
The seventh juror, a single mother of two teenage boys in her 50s, was seated Friday afternoon. She said she has had contact with the Minnesota attorney general in the past because of her advocacy work but that this would have no impact on her decision-making in the trial.
The court will need to seat a total of 12 jurors and two alternates.
Contributing: Grace Hauck, Kevin McCoy, N’dea Yancey-Bragg
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