MINNEAPOLIS — Jury selection for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged for George Floyd’s death, concluded Tuesday morning, March 23.
Court is adjourned until 9 a.m. Monday, March 29, when opening statements will begin with the prosecution presenting first.
Fifteen jurors, including three alternates, have been seated on the panel. Only 14 jurors, including two alternates, can be in the courtroom due to COVID-19 precautions, so the 15th juror will be dismissed Monday if they are not needed. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said he wanted an extra juror in case one of the jurors drops out before arguments start Monday.
The jury is made up of nine women and six men. Two of the jurors identify as multiracial, four as Black and the rest as white.
The court is not confirming which 12 members will sit on the active jury and which are alternates. The jurors themselves won’t know until they are dismissed.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the May 25, 2020, arrest death of Floyd.
Floyd’s arrest and death occurred after he was suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes, and set off weeks of protests and riots across the country and led to a national reckoning on racial justice.
Three other former officers charged in connection with Floyd’s death — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are scheduled to go to trial in August.
15th juror seated
The 15th juror, a white man in his 20s was seated Tuesday. Cahill said he will be dismissed Monday if he is not needed.
The 15th juror, identified as Juror No. 131, works as an accountant and is married. He said his workplace held a discussion about preventing racism after Floyd’s death, and that he read a book on the subject. He said he thinks the Black Lives Matter movement could have been involved in the riots, but didn’t think they were solely responsible for them.
He said he has a somewhat negative impression of Chauvin, and that it seemed like the duration of time Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck was unnecessary.
Three potential jurors dismissed Tuesday
Three potential jurors were dismissed by Cahill for cause Tuesday: Juror No. 127, Juror No. 129 and Juror No. 130.
Juror No. 127, who appeared to be a white man in his 50s or 60s, said he would tend to believe police officers over an average citizen. He added that it’s not fair for the decisions of police officers, especially those made quickly, to be second guessed, as officers have dangerous jobs. He had unfavorable views of Black Lives Matter and didn’t think any positive outcomes resulted from protests following Floyd’s death.
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Juror No. 129, who appeared to be a white woman in her 40s, seemed to be very nervous while she was being questioned. She said the security made her feel safe inside the courtroom, but was worried about her safety outside.
“[The security] makes me feel safer here, but not out there,” she said.
Juror No. 130, who appeared to be a white man in his 20s or 30s, was quickly dismissed because he said he “would be lying” if he said he could be fully fair and impartial. He said the video of Floyd’s arrest had greatly affected him.
Cahill also gave the defense one of its peremptory strikes back, and agreed to dismiss Juror No. 121, who was questioned Monday, for cause instead of as a peremptory.
Peremptory strikes allow either side to dismiss potential jurors without providing a reason why.