With the start of the trial of Derek chauvin— the man charged with the murder of George Floyd— beginning, citizens are called to the stand to serve as jurors in this critical trial.
Jury selection for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial began Tuesday March 9 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. It started a day later than scheduled and continued into Wednesday before court recessed for the day. Chauvin faces multiple charges in the killing of George Floyd, including second-degree murder, third-degree murder, which was reinstated by Judge Peter Cahill on Thursday, and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers involved in the fatal arrest are charged with aiding and abetting, and will be tried together in August.
As of now, the legal teams have agreed to seat a total of 6 jurors in the high-profile case, three jurors on Tuesday and two on Wednesday, they have 8 left to seat, including the 2 alternates. The jurors chosen Wednesday include a Black man, who works as an IT specialist and a White man, who said, in order to participate in the trial, he’d be willing to reschedule his wedding in May. Both the prosecution and defense are aiming to find jurors that can form an impartial opinion despite the massive amount of pre-trial publicity the case has received.
The first juror interviewed by Cahill and defense attorney Eric Nelson, a mother of three, was asked about media coverage she had seen, and though she admitted she had seen the video, said she would be willing to review all evidence. When asked about her initial opinion of that video, she said “That’s not fair, because we are humans, you know?” She was later excused from jury duty. The second potential juror, a White man who works as a chemist, was selected after questioning. He said he had limited interactions with police but did not have a negative viewpoint of the Minneapolis PD. He said he did believe the criminal justice system as a whole was biased against people of color. Some potential and selected jurors showed concern for their safety, and feared their names becoming publicized post-trial. Jury selection is scheduled to last three weeks, and should there be no delays, opening statements are set for March 29. Trial proceedings will last two to four weeks followed by deliberations for an indeterminate amount of time.
The entire process is expected to be complete by mid to late April. If Chauvin, who pleaded not guilty, is convicted then a sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date. He will also have the right to appeal.
ARTICLE BY: EMILY HINES
U.S. EDITOR: CARSON WOLF
PHOTO CREDITS: PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE