Two jurors excused in Derek Chauvin’s trial after saying city settlement affects ability to be fair

On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, a Minnesota judge dismissed two jurors who had been selected for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin accused in George Floyd’s death. 

They were dismissed over concerns that the city of Minneapolis’s $27 million settlement with Floyd’s estate would affect their ability to be impartial. As of Wednesday, the jurors selected to serve on the jury during the trial consisted of four men and three women. The two men who were excused after telling the court the mid-trial news that they would have difficulty being impartial and fair. “I think that that sticker price obviously shocked me and kind of swayed me a little bit,” one of the excused jurors stated in a virtual Zoom hearing when questioned by Judge Peter Cahill.” The second excused juror told Judge Cahill — who is presiding over the criminal trial — that he heard about the city’s $27 million settlement and that it would make him “hard to be impartial.” 

Since then, Judge Cahill has retained five other jurors and then two more on Wednesday, bringing the total back to nine. The jury selection process, which began on March 9 at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minnesota, will continue until the court decides on fourteen total jurors, including two alternates. 

The settlement was in reference to the decision made earlier in the month of March to pay the estate of George Floyd $27 million after the city council on Friday unanimously voted to settle a lawsuit with Floyd’s family. Reportedly, the brother of George Floyd, Philinoise Floyd, said “that he would return the settlement millions if it meant he could see his brother again.” The settlement, decided upon by the Minneapolis City Council, includes $500,000 for the neighborhood in which Floyd was arrested and died. When those involved in the George Floyd legal case were asked about the specific timing of the settlement, Judge Cahill stated, “But let’s face it, it’s not just a legal decision, that’s a political decision.”

The criminal case of George Floyd and Derek Chauvin has been an ongoing debate since his death in May of 2020. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes at a grocery store. The employee at the grocery store called the police on Floyd, a regular at the store, and stated that Mr. Floyd appeared “drunk” and “not in control of himself.” Two police officers arrived; one of them pulled out his gun and ordered Mr. Floyd to show his hands. According to prosecutors, Mr. Floyd “actively resisted being handcuffed.” One of the police officers, Derek Chauvin, pulled him away from the passenger side of the car, causing him to fall to the ground. Chauvin then kneeled on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes and forty-six seconds. Transcripts of bodycam footage reveal that Mr. Floyd said over twenty times that he couldn’t breathe, begged for his mother, and pleaded for Chauvin to lift his knee from his neck. Floyd became non-responsive, was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance, and was pronounced dead– the cause of which is currently disputed– an hour later.

The aftermath of Floyd’s death resulted in protests, riots, and a national call for change. Currently, the jury selection process will resume until fourteen are found, and the legal case will continue in Minneapolis.  





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