Written by Associated Press of the Guardian Newspaper and Jada Butler
Published on 10th March 2021
Currently potential jurors are being considered in the trial of Derek Chauvin, an ex-police officer who has been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd. This is the first week of an unusually three weeklong jury selection for this case, where jurors are questioned on their views about the Black Lives Matter movement and law enforcement in the US. Jury selection began on Monday 8th March and five out of the twelve jurors required for the trial have been chosen. This process began months ago when potential jurors completed an extensive questionnaire, which has not been made public as well as the identity of these individuals.
The chosen jurors consist of three white men, a woman of colour and a bilingual black man who immigrated to the U.S. fourteen years ago. One juror commented that he views the Black Lives Matter movement more fairly than the police. Another juror claimed although he believes there are bad police officers, there are also good police officers, and the entire law enforcement system should not be blamed for what happened.
The case of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by Chauvin, a white police officer, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty-three seconds, led to protests in Minneapolis and around the world. Chauvin and three police officers, who were there at the scene, were dismissed. The other officers will face charges of aiding and abetting in August 2021.
Steve Schleicher, the prosecutor for the case, rejected a prospective juror on the grounds that she has a family member working in law enforcement. Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, rejected two potential jurors of Hispanic ethnicity, which the prosecutor objected to, claiming they were rejected because of their race. Peter Cahill, the judge, dismissed this claim, stating that one of these jurors claimed that Chauvin’s restraint was illegal. Currently, the juror selection process has been delayed because Cahill is considering adding the charge of third-degree murder in addition to Chauvin’s other charges. The state has asked the court to delay proceedings until this matter has been resolved.