DAY 5: Two More Jurors Added Monday to Derek Chauvin Jury; Big George Floyd Protests Outside Courthouse

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Image of Derek Chauvin with his knee to George Floyd’s neck

By Kathryn Wood 

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the death of George Floyd, proceeded Monday with the jury selection process that began early last week. Only half the necessary jurors were seated before Monday, when two more jurors were successfully admitted to the jury.

Judge Peter Cahill asked the first potential juror a series of questions regarding her answers in the preliminary questionnaire, asking if she had inadvertently been exposed to any information about the trial.

The woman admitted that she accidentally heard about the $27 million civil settlement. She stated that, usually, the “preponderance of evidence leans towards guilt.”

Although she held strong opinions, she claimed, “I would like to think I could be impartial.”

She came to the conclusion that she did not think she could be impartial. “I almost gasped at the [settlement] amount,” she added, “it leaned me so far to one side than the other.”

The next potential juror described himself as a “pretty positive person,” noting his love for basketball, sports, writing, and music.

In regard to the trial, he asserted “someone could have intervened” and pondered why the other officers did not stop Chauvin.

Previously, he recounted a time that he witnessed the “police body slam and use mace against an individual,” adding, “Discrimination is well beyond what the media can report,” he declared, and “there’s no way for it all to be covered.”

He admitted that he was neutral in terms of defunding the police and would need to “read a lot more to form a strong opinion,” although he noted, “Black lives just want to be treated as equals” and not be “killed or treated in an aggressive manner simply because they’re black.”

Chauvin’s Defense Attorney Eric Nelson asked if the potential juror could elaborate on his feelings toward Black Lives Matter as an “organization.”

“I don’t know it as an organization…I just see it as a statement,” the potential juror asserted, adding that he “feels like the concept of Blue Lives Matter only became a thing to combat Black Lives Matter…it shouldn’t be a competition.”

The potential juror expressed that he could be a fair and impartial judge of the case, claiming that “this is the most historic case of my lifetime and I would love to be a part of it.”

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank questioned the potential juror’s opinions on people who “may struggle with drug use.”

He responded that he thinks they are “just like anybody else,” claiming that he would not judge someone more favorably or less favorably for illegal drug use. Instead, he would “let each person have their voice heard.”

This juror was successfully admitted to serve on the jury.

When Judge Cahill questioned the next potential juror on whether he thinks he could be impartial, he stated that it was “the biggest struggle” he had.

In reference to the video displaying the death of George Floyd, he claimed that he “did not see the whole video” because he was “appalled” by what he saw. He added that the amount of force exerted by Chauvin seemed to be “inappropriate,” stating that “Mr. Floyd needed medical attention.”

This individual was excused from the jury service because he did not believe he could “honestly be impartial.”

The next potential juror was a single parent who works as an executive assistant in health care. She agreed that she “could be impartial” and that it all relies on “how people will perceive” the case.

She admitted that she was “slightly concerned” about her safety, depending on the outcome of the case. However, she stated that she would give her “best opinion and make the case very fair.”   In order to approach a resolution of conflict you “have to be neutral,” she added.

She admitted that she did not watch the whole video of George Floyd’s death because it “disturbed” her and she “just couldn’t watch it anymore.”

She claimed that she had a somewhat negative opinion of Chauvin but asserted that everyone is innocent until proven otherwise. Additionally, she mentioned that in the wake of the George Floyd protests, the communities surrounding Minneapolis “took a beating…a negative one.”

After being questioned about whether she believes White and Black individuals are treated the same by police, she responded that it is “based on the officer and their opinions,” adding that “they should treat everyone the same.”

Furthermore, she noted that she “truly believes that all lives matter.”

Frank asked her to elaborate on her questionnaire response that she was “somewhat disfavorable to Black Lives Matter.”

“I don’t remember where my mind was at that time…all lives matter to me it doesn’t matter who they are…we are all important,” she said, adding “blue lives matter meant everyone else.”

Once Frank told her that Blue Lives Matter was associated with police officers, she replied, “Oh that’s what that means?” She claimed that she “didn’t perceive it like that” and “didn’t know what blue meant.”

Additionally, she stated that she “places trust” in police officers until they show her “something different.”

This individual was admitted to serve on the jury.

The last potential juror who was questioned before the break claimed that it was hard for him to avoid watching the news because during the breaks at work they would always have the TV on.

He stated that he had watched the video of George Floyd’s death twice and said he heard there “was a potential plea.”

After the potential juror stated that “it would be tough to prove his [Chauvin’s] innocence,” he was released from the panel.

Following the announcement that the city of Minneapolis reached a $27 million settlement with George Floyd’s family, demonstrators swarmed around the building demanding justice.

Defense Attorney Eric Nelson argued that there should be a change of venue with the large number of demonstrators in the area following the announcement of the $27 million civil settlement with George Floyd’s family.

Kathryn Wood is a third year at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science-Public Service and minoring in Professional Writing and Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning. She is from Petaluma, California.


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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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9 thoughts on “DAY 5: Two More Jurors Added Monday to Derek Chauvin Jury; Big George Floyd Protests Outside Courthouse”

  1. Keith Olsen

    Defense Attorney Eric Nelson argued that there should be a change of venue with the large number of demonstrators 

    He’s right, how can a fair trial possibly take place at this venue with the daily protests outside and the jurors worried about their safety during and possibly after the trial’s outcome?

    1. David Greenwald

      Except:

      A. No matter where the trial is held there will be protests
      B. The event is so high profile that Minnesotans have no more knowledge of the case than anyone
      C. Jury safety is non-issue, when was the last time something happened to a juror in a high profile case – jurors weren’t worried about their safety, they were looking for ways not to sit on a multi-week trial.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Non-issue?  How do you know they aren’t worried?  

        With jurors fearing for their safety and Minneapolis already boarding up the areas near the courthouse in the riot zone in anticipation of a not guilty verdict, you might be wondering why there was no change of venue.

        Instead, Cahill finds himself with some, though not all, jurors who are fearful that their families would be doxxed, hurt, or worse by the same violent thugs who burned down the Third Police Precinct, a Target Store, and shot 19 people in the riots that followed Floyd’s death.

        https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/victoria-taft/2021/03/10/potential-jurors-in-the-george-floyd-killing-case-are-afraid-theyll-be-targeted-cant-imagine-why-n1431408

        No matter where the trial is held there will be protests

        I agree, but moving the trial out of the area of where the death and riots occurred might help the situation at least somewhat.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          PJ Media, “violent thugs” – good source.

          Again, problem number one: why is the fear credible here when they manage to protect jurors presiding over many far more dangerous cases (gang case, etc).

          But second, why is this problem solved by changing the venue?

          If the defense were really that concerned, they could waive a jury trial. Of course they don’t want to do that for obvious reasons. And that again leads me to suspect this is all just hot air fueled by alternate right media (which of course you cited).

        2. Keith Olsen

          Okay, how’s this?  It’s real and not all that surprising that potential jurors would fear for their safety in this day and age of protesters ending up on people’s front porches.

          On Tuesday, several jurors questioned cited the high-securityas fueling trepidations about serving on the jury and made them feel more concerned for their safety.“It just represents to me the seriousness of the case and that potentially there could be some … protests or demonstrations and the Government Center, the county, was taking the necessary precautions,” one dismissed juror, a manager for a company, said. Despite Cahill telling jurors their identities will be guarded, the man said he was also concerned about his name being made public and result in people vandalizing his home or harming his family.A 19-year-old trade-school student, who was also dismissed, said seeing the security made him feel anxious and less willing to serve on the jury.

          “I was sort of thinking it’s going to snowball; it’s going to get bigger and bigger as the days go by and I don’t know if I want to deal with all that comes with that,” he said in court. “The media attention, the people outside the courthouse, all the guards and stuff, it’s just a lot for me to take in.”Joseph H. Low IV, a Los Angeles criminal defense and civil trial lawyer, told ABC News, that he expects the bolstered security to continue to have a chilling effect on selecting a jury.”That can cause some fear and some uncertainty,” Low said. “This is not making them feel any calmer. So that will be something that a specialist who picks and selects juries will be aware of.”

          https://abc13.com/2-more-jurors-picked-for-derek-chauvin-case-1-says-trial-may-delay-his-wedding/10404248/

           

          1. David Greenwald

            I think you should look at the history of attacks on jurors in this country – it’s very rare.

        3. Keith Olsen

          PJ Media, “violent thugs” – good source.

          So you don’t think of the people “who burned down the Third Police Precinct, a Target Store, and shot 19 people in the riots that followed Floyd’s death” as violent thugs?  Then how would you classify them David?  It wasn’t a reference to the peaceful protesters.

        4. Alan Miller

          jurors who are fearful that their families would be doxxed, hurt, or worse

          This sounds like the fears the jurors had when that cartel boss was on trial.  Right here in Minnesota!

          as violent thugs?  Then how would you classify them David?

          It’s one of those words you so-called ‘can’t say anymore’.  Self-dog-whistling to the in-crowd that one is racist in using the term.

          Like when Spock brought McCoy back to life by mind-melding him that he didn’t die in the fantasy world, just believe the trap doesn’t exist and the iron bear trap around your foot will vanish.

          Maybe what we need is a ‘change of venue’ for the upcoming riots.

  2. Bill Marshall

    This is getting silly… jurors have been threatened, harrassed, injured after high profile cases… Rodney King officers… OJ trial… many others…

    I do agree that a ‘change of venue’ will not help that… but to deny that is real, and will continue to be, as the prosecutions in the Jan 6 Capitol “incident” move to trial, is, well, ‘denial’…

    Am wondering if some who have already decided what the verdict should be are “Chauvin(ists)” [or Cauvin-istas?]… yes, ‘too easy’…

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