Derek Chauvin trial: Who are the jurors? |

Derek Chauvin trial: Who are the jurors?

Derek Chauvin trial: Who are the jurors? Photo: KSTP-TV.

Tommy Wiita
Updated: April 19, 2021 04:47 PM
Created: March 10, 2021 06:17 PM

As of March 29, 14 jurors have been confirmed to serve on the jury during the Derek Chauvin trial, a former Minneapolis police officer who faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, plus a third-degree murder charge in the death of George Floyd.

The 14 jurors consist of two white men, six white women, three Black men, one Black woman and two multiracial women. 

As of April 19, two jurors — No. 96 and 118 — have been selected to be alternate jurors for the case. One is a white woman in her 20s and the other is a white woman in her 50s.

The following is a more detailed look at each juror:

The jurors

Juror No. 2

Juror No. 2, a white man in his 20s, was the first juror selected by Cahill. The juror is a chemist with an environmental science degree. He lives in Minneapolis and said he has not yet seen the video of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck as of Tuesday. However, the man said he has seen the still image. When he mentioned in court that he visited the area of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis, he explained, saying "it happened in my city and it was a transformative event." 

The juror said he believes that mandatory minimums are racially biased, based on statistics, after Chauvin's Attorney Eric Nelson brought the topic up. However, the juror told the defense he does not believe that the Minneapolis Police Department is more likely to confront Black suspects with more force than white suspects. 

When asked if the juror either had underlying intentions to answer questions to get on or off the jury, his response was "my answers were truthful." 

The man said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement, but views the organization itself unfavorably. He also has an unfavorable view of the Blue Lives Matter movement. He said everyone should matter the same.

"The whole point of that is that all lives should matter equally, and that should include police," he said.

The juror shared a background of resolving conflict, as he worked as a summer camp counselor for "seven to eight" summers. He says he bases his conclusions on conflict based on analysis and facts. When asked if he could decide the case based on the evidence, he said, "I'd rely on what I hear in court."

Juror No. 9

Juror No. 9, a multiracial woman in her 20s, who is originally from northern Minnesota, was the second person selected on the jury. She expressed her excitement — both when she was summoned to court and when the judge confirmed she would be on the jury. Her reasoning was that she "finds the process fascinating." She describes her personality as a "go-with-the-flow" approach.

She mentioned to the court that her uncle is a police officer in Brainerd. Despite the relationship, she says it will not have any impact on her decision-making in the trial. She said she initially had a negative perception of Chauvin because of what she saw in the bystander video. 

"That video just makes you sad," she said. "Nobody wants to see somebody die, whether it was his fault or not."

She said there could be many reasons why Chauvin would pin Floyd to the ground, and that while she has heard Floyd had drugs in his system when he died, she understands that may not have been a factor in his death.

In regards to both the Black Lives Matter movement and the Blue Lives Matter ideology, she believes that both are a "bigger scheme" to get people to buy merchandise, and not really about what the movement claims to represent.

Juror No. 19

In the final juror hearing of the day on March 9, Cahill approved Juror No. 19 to serve on the jury. The man, who describes himself as an "honest person, straightforward and easy to talk to," is an auditor.

He is described as a white man in his 30s, according to a pool courtroom reporter.

He said he doesn't have any concerns about his or his family's safety serving as a jury member in the case. He also mentioned he would keep an open mind until all evidence is present and considered in court, even though he has viewed the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd "at least three times," but not in full. 

He also stated in court that he had a "friend of a friend" who is a K-9 officer for the Minneapolis Police Department. He says before the pandemic became reality, he typically would see this person twice a year, but reassured that the relationship has no impact on his judgments in this case. 

Regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, he supports the general context of it, saying "Black lives do matter." He does have an unfavorable opinion of the Blue Lives Matter ideology. 

Juror No. 27

Juror No. 27 became the fifth member to serve on the jury. He is described to be a Black man in his 30s. 

The man, who came to the United States 14 years ago and is multilingual, works in informational technology. He moved to the Midwest and completed his schooling in the region. He moved from Nebraska to Minnesota in 2012. The man says he holds a management position with his company and overlooks eight other employees. He says he deals with a lot of conflict and problem solving because of his job.  

The man said in court that he does not use social media, as he prefers a private life and protection of his data. He said he was shown the viral video of Floyd's death from a friend's phone, and said from that video alone, he formed a negative opinion of Chauvin. But, he added in court, "I didn't know what happened before the video." He reassured the court that he could be impartial during the trial. 

When asked if he had spoken to anyone about the incident, he said he did with his wife, saying to her "it could be anyone — you, me or anyone else."

He said the aftermath of the unrest and riots that ensued had people in his community "not OK with the looting." He added that people in his community were understanding of the protests, however. On the questionnaire, he said he was in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying that they matter more because they are a marginalized community. He says that police lives matter as well, as he believes that all lives have meaning and purpose. He added that police need to feel safe to do their jobs.

He said in court that he is against defunding police, as he thinks police are necessary for communities.

"While I necessarily might not agree with the police action in some situation, I believe that in order for police to make my community safe they have to have the money," he said.

He strongly agrees that police in his community makes him feel safe. His community wasn't specified — jurors are being drawn from all over Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and many of its suburbs.

Juror No. 44

Juror No. 44 is the seventh confirmed member of the jury. She is a single white mother with two teenage boys, described to be in her 50s. She works in a nonprofit healthcare advocacy position. 

She said her initial concern for safety was due to the possibility of her information being leaked in this case, but reaffirms she is willing to go through with being a possible juror. She says she wants to see all the facts presented in front of her in order to make a decision.

She said she could not watch the entire Floyd video, calling it "emotional." She wrote on the questionnaire that she felt like the officers involved had different levels of culpability. However, she is willing to keep an open mind to what the Minneapolis Police Department's policies are.

She had differing opinions on the outcome of the protests: saying it brought attention to real issues, but the destruction of businesses was unnecessary.  

"Laws were created many, many years ago that have not kept up with cultural and societal changes," was her response regarding discrimination portrayed in the media. 

The woman told the defense she had a discussion with a coworker, who is Black, about the differences in how white people view law enforcement in comparison to Black people. She said she has gained perspective from that. The woman tells state prosecutor Steve Schleicher she feels empathy for Floyd and the former officers.

"No one wants to take someone's life — if that is what happened — so that's where the empathy comes from. I'm sure his death is not something that anyone wanted. I'm sure the intention was there," she said.

She also stated that she has strong views about the use of drugs and further explained that she is "anti-drug." She has a negative opinion of any drug user because "they are making bad decisions." 

Throughout her questioning, she spoke at length about needing to eliminate implicit bias. The juror in question said she has prior experience with being on a jury.

Juror No. 52

The juror, described to be a Black man in his 30s, is a youth sports coach, and often finds himself keeping busy with sports, music and creative writing. He is the eighth juror picked to serve. 

He said he isn't concerned for his safety if he were picked to serve on the jury. 

Regarding the case, he knows "many basics" of it, including two autopsies being done on Floyd. He has a neutral opinion for Chauvin and Floyd. He says he doesn't think Chauvin had the intention to end Floyd's life, but he was curious as to why the 3 other former officers did not intervene. The man says he has seen "about a minute" of the Floyd video. 

"Why didn't the other officers stop Chauvin?" he asked in court, adding that even if Chauvin didn't mean to do what he did, someone still died. 

The man says he witnessed a Minneapolis police officer "slam down someone for not cooperating quickly enough and use more force than was necessary." He adds he was walking by and acknowledges he doesn't know the whole story from that isolated incident. 

The man believes that discrimination is impossible to cover in full by the media, saying there is more discrimination than the media can keep up with. He said he doesn't know enough information on defunding the police to form an opinion on it. Regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, he said he has a favorable opinion of them. 

"Black lives just want to be treated as equals and not killed or treated in an aggressive manner simply because they are Black," he answered in the questionnaire. He further states that he believes Black Lives Matter is a statement, doesn't see them as a movement or organization. 

He also believes Blue Lives Matter was created to refute Black Lives Matter. He said he doesn't think there should be a competition. 

Juror No. 52 says he does not judge those who struggle with a drug abuse issue. 

Juror No. 55

Juror No. 55 became the ninth member of the jury. She is described to be a white woman in her 50s. 

She said she is a single parent, works in healthcare. She states she has two children, one of them being an older teenager. She called it "kind of a thrill" to be selected for jury duty. 

In regards to how she would view this case as a juror, she is willing to see all sides and make a decision based on facts. She is willing to reexamine her own views. She says she is in a position to uphold the law. 

The woman said she learned of the Floyd video through the news media. She said she saw a short clip of the incident. She didn't watch the full video. After watching the video, she couldn't watch it any further, saying it involved a "human-to-human" fatal situation. 

She agrees with the defense in saying the video is just a part of the story. 

She states she won't be able to form an opinion until she learns of all the facts. After initially answering the questionnaire that she viewed Chauvin in a "somewhat negative" way, she says "he's innocent until proven otherwise."

The woman mentioned an incident where she saw police harass a young white man where she lives. In regards to that prior incident, she says it won't factor into this case because they are separate incidents. She also empathizes with officers by saying "it's a tough time" for them to work. She says it's their job to keep people safe. 

She adds police should treat everyone the same. She believes that all lives matter, and says it shouldn't matter what race people are or what background they have for it to matter. 

The woman says she understands the difference between a protest and a riot. She defined a protest as people walking around with signs and defined a riot as when harm to buildings is done to get attention. She was concerned the unrest could have filtered into her neighborhood. 

She believes that the Black Lives Matter movement was started because "Black people didn't feel heard." She adds it's hard for her to say because she isn't Black. In regards to Blue Lives Matter, she says she doesn't know what it means. She initially thought it meant "everybody else." She had just been informed of what it meant Monday in court.

She noted during the incident where she saw the boy being "harassed" by police, she was told to "stay back" twice after showing concern for the situation. She told the state prosecutor that she felt like she "didn't matter" to the police in that situation. 

Juror No. 79

Juror No. 79 became the eighth confirmed member of the jury on March 17. He is described to be a Black man in his 40s who immigrated to the United States and has lived in the Twin Cities area for 20 years. The man stated he lived in a suburb. He is a father.

The juror says the only news he is aware of involving the case recently was the civil settlement. He assures that he will put his opinions to the side and it won't impact his judgments on the case. He noted he was "surprised" he was summoned to possibly serve on the jury. When asked about resolving conflicts, the man said both sides need to be heard. 

He answered on the questionnaire he had a "neutral" opinion on Chauvin. He adds it would help if Chauvin testified for him to form a more solid opinion either one way or the other. Regarding Floyd, he formed a positive view of him based on press coverage of the case. He believes protests can be done "without rioting." He says he lives in a suburb and didn't see anything happening in the area during that time.

Regarding interactions with police, he says he once had someone break into his house and the suspect was never caught. He doesn't hold any resentment for the police after the fact. He answered "somewhat agree" to racial minorities no receiving equal treatment in the criminal justice system. He explained, saying when mistakes are made, "most of them tend to be [concerning] Black people."

Regarding Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, he says "every life should matter and not be disrespected. We all have family to go back to at the end of the day."

Juror No. 85

Juror No. 85, described as a multiracial woman in her 40s, is the ninth confirmed member of the jury.

The juror, a mother, says she has seen that jury selection has begun and the settlement, but noted she hasn't seen details on the settlement. She adds that none of that will affect her decision-making in the case.

"I don't think that that declares, guilt, one way or another, I think people settle for many reasons," she said about the settlement.

She says her job includes "serving clients" and her company is willing to let her serve for awhile. She discussed her work, which is a management consultant position, and how they help companies navigate things like technology and cultural changes. She added that she worked with one company that was about to go out of business, which would have affected "thousands of employees." Regarding if she has consulted a company on diversity and inclusion, she responded no.

She says she is also a wife and spends a lot of time at hockey rinks during the winter. She has some concern about when juror's names would be released at some point. However, she doesn't have any immediate concerns but said the government center's set-up was "unnerving." She understands the reasoning behind it. 

The juror says she would stand her ground when it came to her personal belief on which way she would decide in a jury. She tells Nelson she is able to put her opinions to the side if she were to serve on the jury. 

She said she saw clips of the video shown on the news. She did not seek out the entire video. The woman stated on the questionnaire she formed a "somewhat negative" opinion on Chauvin. She formed a "neutral" opinion on Floyd.

The possible juror stated her only conversations about what was happening involved her asking friends, who lived in the downtown Minneapolis area, how they were as she was concerned for their safety. 

"Negative was obviously there... a lot of damage done to businesses and probably homes... the positive things I see that came out of it were really giving people a voice that maybe didn't feel heard," she said about the unrest that followed Floyd's death. 

The woman says police make her feel safe in her community. She adds that police officers are humans and make some mistakes when asked about her opinion on defunding the police. She adds she doesn't have a personal experience with police mistreatment of others, but she is aware of incidents relating to that from the media.

"I feel like as humans they can make mistakes as well and if there's a case in which people feel like anyone was mistreated in any way, I think they should be asked about it," she said. She also stated that "there is always room for improvement" when it comes to the justice system and anything else. 

She told the state prosecution team that she would agree that if you don't cooperate with police, and if something negative happens to you, you have yourself to blame. 

Juror No. 89

Juror No. 89, described to be a white woman in her 50s, was confirmed as the 10th juror for the Chauvin trial.

The announcement of the city settlement was heard by this juror. She stated she doesn't believe that information learned will impact her decision-making as a juror. She noted that she wants to consider all sides.

The woman tells the court she is a nurse and lives alone in Edina. The juror has shared her concerns after the trial when the jury may be revealed. 

She has not formed an opinion on who is responsible for Floyd's death. She stated that she also "strongly" agrees that the criminal justice system doesn't treat Black people and people of color equally in comparison to others.

The juror answered in the questionnaire that she "strongly agrees" that police make her feel safe, however, she stated she doesn't trust them because "they are human."

She also said she was in a "somewhat favorable" stance on Black Lives Matter and a "somewhat unfavorable" stance on Blue Lives Matter. She says she is able to judge the case based on merits. 

In sharing more information on her work, she says it's been busy lately as she works with "ventilated patients" involving COVID-19. She had previously worked in an intensive care setting and cardiac care. She also said she sees a lot of patients that have an opioid addiction. She stated that she is always willing to help anyone who needs medical assistance.

She reassured multiple times in court that she can be impartial when serving on a jury.

Juror No. 91

Juror No. 91 has been accepted to serve on the jury. She is the 11th confirmed member. The woman is described to be in her 60s. She says she is a Black grandmother. 

She heard the news of the settlement but says it should play no factor in them being on the jury. She also noted she knows someone on the Minneapolis Police Department, who is not on the witness list. She added that despite the relationship, it would not play any factor in her decision-making.

"I guess I was kind of excited to possibly have an opportunity, never served on a jury before," she said in response to how she reacted when she was summoned. 

She said in regards to getting to the same result, "...we just have to work harder to get to common truth." 

She tells the defense she has seen the video for "4 to 5" minutes. She saw the video on social media. She turned the video off because she felt it wasn't something she needed to see. She also shared that she grew up in south Minneapolis.

She believes the area was "affected" after the death of Floyd.

"So many of the stores were looted, destroyed," she said, adding that her brother was affected by not being able to get medication delivered from the post office after it was destroyed. She says the difference between a protest and a riot is "protesting for something you believe in" and rioting is "finding places to destroy." 

The defense asked her if it's right to second guess decisions police make on duty. "I think officers have to have the power to make the best decision in that moment," she said, adding that those decisions need to be questioned sometimes.

She also believes all lives matter, but further stated "I am Black and my life matters."

She tells state prosecutors she has been retired for five years. She used to work in marketing for a financial company. The woman says she enjoys teaching children and "helping them find their way" through volunteer opportunities. 

Juror No. 92

Juror No. 92 became the 12th juror seated for the trial. The court now needs only two more spots to fill, which will serve as alternate seats. She is described to be a white woman in her 40s.

She describes herself as family-oriented and loves working in the insurance industry. She communicates client concerns with the company she works at. This woman tells the court she has been working from home since the pandemic happened. She does not have any concerns with showing up downtown for this trial.

The juror refers to herself as more of an "observer" when it comes to attempting to reach common ground with people. She has seen the viral bystander video clip on the news. She did not see the original video on social media. 

In regards to Chauvin, she says she is aware of his tax crimes but stated that would not create bias in the trial. She also has heard some information surrounding Floyd as well, due to "drug charges" or "being involved with drugs." She viewed both in a "negative" view due to their past, according to the questionnaire she filled out. 

She said in court she has had at least one friend who struggled with alcohol addiction. She doesn't think someone with an addiction can be labeled as a "bad person," and is "cautious" around individuals like that. She believes people can act more violently or aggressively than someone else who is not under the influence. She doesn't believe that is always the case, stating it depends on the drug or situation they are in. The woman does not believe people with drug addictions should be met with violence due to their personal issue.

The juror believes that there's both a positive and negative impact that followed the protests. She said the protests were positive, but the rioting was negative. She acknowledges that discrimination exists, saying "Blacks are treated differently than whites." The woman shared that some of her friends have told her stories about being called derogatory names due to their race. 

She has a favorable opinion of both Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. She believes police departments don't need to be "dismantled," but stated police "needs improvement.

Juror No. 96

Juror No. 96 is described as a white woman in her 50s. The woman says she is a dog lover and an advocate for affordable housing. She also enjoys nature.

The woman says she isn't familiar with Black Lives Matter as an organization, but she believes they are about protecting Black lives and bringing issues to the forefront. She also stated, "we need law enforcement."

She says she has broad concerns, in general, involving this case, no matter the verdict.

The woman noted she has seen bystander video "2 to 3" times, but just a short version on the news. She noted in the questionnaire that Floyd's restraining by officers "was ultimately responsible for Mr. Floyd's demise." She explained she assumed that was the cause, based on her opinion from watching the clip. 

"I feel like the video may not show the entirety of the situation and what happened. I don't know what happened before or after," she said. She believes Chauvin took on "another role" in comparison to the other officers seen in the video, calling him the "leader." 

In regards to how the media portrays discrimination, she says it can sometimes have a bias. "Sometimes I feel like the media... goes for certain stories or headlines that would grab people's attention," she noted.

The woman also shared that her business was damaged and looted during the riots. Her business is located in a more suburban setting. She says they had to close for seven days to do repairs and figure out what was stolen. 

Juror No. 118

The juror is a white woman in her 20s who works as a social worker. Juror No. 118 is married and recently became a dog owner. 

"I started out and decided I want to help people," she said about her career and finding her path in college.

In her work, she has a caseload of about 65 people. She stated she works with people who are in a mental health crisis or having "issues." Her involvement is based on coordinated independent living, meaning she assists people with grocery shopping, helping those who need help getting dressed in the morning and having a therapist visit in-home to her clients. 

She was made aware of the $27 million settlement between the city of Minneapolis and George Floyd's family announced earlier this month. However, she doesn't believe it will impact her decision-making as a juror. 

She saw the viral clip shown "four to five" times from the news only. The woman told the court that she formed a "somewhat negative" opinion on Chauvin initially and a "good and bad" impression of Floyd. The juror also noted she had heard of some past events (such as Chauvin and Floyd possibly knowing each other, Floyd's past run-ins with police, etc.) that made her think the way she initially did. 

In regards to the protests and riots, she believes people took advantage of the rioting and looting, which in turn created a negative belief for her. However, she said the protests were positive in bringing the community together. 

She said she does not support defunding the police but does believe the police could use some changes and improvements in some areas. The woman said she feels safe when police are in her community. 

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