A 15th and final juror was chosen Tuesday in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, with proceedings now recessed until the attorneys’ opening statements scheduled for Monday.
The jury selection concluded after a little over two weeks in what was at times a tedious process that involved quizzing dozens of jury candidates.
“We’re going to call in 12, and we’re going to go through all 12,” if necessary,” Judge Peter Cahill said prior to the day’s selection processes. Lawyers were told to be prepared to work a longer day to seat the final juror. That turned out not to be the case.
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During the process, Judge Peter Cahill gave the defense back its strike used yesterday on Juror 121. He reviewed the case Nelson cited — about evasiveness — and Cahill agreed that should have been for cause.
The jurors are: A multi-race woman in her 20s, a multi-race woman in her 40s, two Black men in their 30s, a Black man in his 40s, a Black woman in her 60s, four white women in their 50s, a white woman in her 40s, a white man in his 30s, two white men in their 20s, and a white woman in her 20s. Nine of the jurors are women, and six are men.
The judge will keep 14 jurors, including two alternates. Before deliberations, the remaining alternates will be dismissed. Then the 12 jurors will be sequestered while they deliberate for roughly four weeks.
The other defendants in the case — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao — are scheduled to be tried in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
Jury Selection Du Jour
Juror 127 was outspoken in his criticism of the media, stating that all sides push their narrative agenda from FOX to CNN. He made the distinction between a peaceful protest like Martin Luther King and riots.
Juror 127 who went back to school at age 50, changed careers to a pipe fitter. He said Black Lives Matter is a political entity.
He also stated that defunding the police is “lunacy.”
“I don’t think a policeman wakes up in the morning to have a tragedy happen during the day,” he said when asked about his impression of Chauvin after watching the widely viewed bystander footage, filmed by Darnella Frazier, a young teen who raised more than half a million dollars for the trauma she experienced filming the event.
Juror 127 also said he doesn’t believe police, for the most part, target minorities unfairly. “I just don’t think they want to single out one race over another. … It’s not the color of the person, it’s actions… It’s enough to make your head spin, or explode, I’m tired of one side being pitted against the other…”
He also said that he would likely go with the police officer’s story if everything else was equal.
State: “You indicated you would tend to believe a police officer more than a witness…”
Juror 127 “If a person was there at a scene before an officer was there… on the other hand police officers are trained… and I “hope” they are unbiased and fair…”
State probes:” Anything beyond your belief of that making you think you trust their word more than another witness?”
Juror 127: “I can’t answer..”
Juror 127 was also “not exactly certain” anymore that the criminal justice system works. “Nobody’s been held accountable,” he indicated in reference to the looting and rioting.
Asked about his thoughts on Floyd, he said, “If I struggled for who knows how long, what would happen to me? Why is somebody resisting?”
Given his strong support for police officers, disdain for mainstream news media, and criticism for the perpetrators who inflicted so much damage to the city during the civil unrest after Floyd’s death, Cahill excused the man, citing his bias in favor of the police.
Juror 129, a mom of three young children, heard about the $27M civil settlement. Juror “wasn’t very happy about that.”
She clearly didn’t want to be on the case and feared for the safety of her family. She was also having a lot of trouble expressing herself when asked to explain things further.
The state motioned for the dismissal, arguing that No. 127 was exhibiting bias given her support of the police.
She thanked Judge Cahill after he excused her from jury duty.
Juror 130, a male, knew about the civil settlement but indicated he didn’t hear the amount.
He said it moved him slightly more toward the prosecution but then after he was told the settlement was not a part of the criminal case, he said he could put it aside.
He was very affected by the video and “very active in what went on after that.”
He admitted that the George Floyd incident affected him in a way he “can’t put aside.”
Judge Cahil excused him from service.
Juror 131, an accountant who is married and active in competitive sports, was seated but he will be dismissed at the outset Monday unless someone drops out before then.
Under questioning, the man said he is analytical thanks to his profession and could weigh the evidence fairly. He said that while he understands why athletes kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America, he wishes they would do so in a different manner.
“I think it’s more of a respect of those that have come before us and the system that we have in the United States,” he said. “I have a great sense of pride in being a United States citizen.”
He said he has a neutral opinion of Floyd and a generally favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement, but he believes it was “a contributing factor” in the violent unrest that followed Floyd’s death. He had a “somewhat negative” impression of Chauvin and believed he used an “unnecessary use of force for that length of time.”
Concerning Blue Lives Matter, he wrote months ago in his juror questionnaire that it “has not done enough to enhance the conversation about other issues such as gun control.”
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