State vs. Chauvin trial Day Six: 9 picked, 5 to go for jury |

State vs. Chauvin trial Day Six: 9 picked, 5 to go for jury

Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding, has estimated jury selection will take three weeks, with opening statements to follow. Photo: KSTP-TV. Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding, has estimated jury selection will take three weeks, with opening statements to follow.

Tommy Wiita
Updated: March 15, 2021 04:46 PM
Created: March 15, 2021 05:41 AM

3:12 p.m.

Juror No. 62 has been dismissed.

Juror No. 62 acknowledges how big the case is, and how much the outcome will mean to the public in the future.

He adds that it would be difficult to be impartial. The judge used that for cause to excuse him.

That concludes Monday's court session. The court will be in recess until 8 a.m. Tuesday. 

2:47 p.m.

The defense has used a peremptory challenge strike on Juror No. 60. He has been excused. The defense has now used nine of their 15 strikes. The state has used five of its nine strikes so far. 

The court is in recess until 3:15 p.m.

2:20 p.m.

Juror No. 60 is being questioned in court. 

Some questions are being addressed privately. The audio has been turned off for discretion. 

When audio resumes, the defense starts questioning. The potential juror says he is studying for his undergraduate and plans to go to law school in the future. He says he didn't know much about the case, as he stated that he typically tries to avoid "controversial topics."

"It's rather I don't care for it. The status, media surrounding the case doesn't make it any more or less important," he said. 

The man says he would be willing to reexamine his opinions, but not "because of the pressure of others." He acknowledges that all 12 jurors would have to agree on a verdict. 

The man says he has not formed an opinion on the protests, Chauvin or Floyd. He also adds he has never seen any videos relating to this case.  

The student noted he has witnessed some situations online that show police using more force than needed. 

He said it doesn't matter what conclusion he would come to in terms of a verdict, as long as he sought out to hear all facts presented. He adds it wouldn't impact opinions on him from his peers if he had to agree with a not-guilty verdict. 

He says he understands the Black Lives Matter movement but still doesn't know enough to make a cement opinion on them. He said he didn't have an opinion of the Blue Lives Matter phrase, either. 

2:10 p.m.

Juror No. 59 has been excused by the judge.

The potential juror said he didn't feel like he was able to serve on the jury as he could not presume innocence for Chauvin. He said he is an educator and participating in social justice events has been a big part of his life. 

1:47 p.m.

The court has reconvened. Judge Cahill said he would be disclosing the racial demographic data for jurors after they are seated. 

The delay was due to a juror running late. Questioning is expected to resume with three jurors for the remainder of Monday's session. 

11:54 a.m.

Juror No. 56 has been dismissed. The judge cites the juror as someone who has followed the case closely with updates, which is something they have directed the potential jurors to not do. 

The court is now in recess until 1:30 p.m.

11:46 a.m.

Juror No. 55 has been accepted to serve on the jury. She is the ninth member of the jury. She is described to be a white woman in her 50s.

Juror No. 56 being questioned now. 

11:03 a.m.

Juror No. 55 is now being questioned. She says she has not heard of the civil case.

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. 

10:58 a.m.

Juror No. 54 has been excused from serving on the jury, saying he would find it difficult to not carry any bias onto the jury.

10:52 a.m.

Questioning continues for Juror No. 54. 

He says it's difficult for him to be impartial. Adds he was "appalled" by what he saw in the video, couldn't bring himself to watch the entire video. 

"I didn't even see the whole video. I saw as much as I could take of the video and I was appalled by what I saw and the feeling continues to be with me," he told the judge.

He believes the action taken by law enforcement was "inappropriate." He says Floyd may have needed more medical attention in that situation. 

10:27 a.m.

Juror No. 52 will serve on the jury. He becomes the eighth person selected for the jury. Six seats remain, with two of them serving as alternatives. This juror is described to be a Black man in his 30s.

Court is in recess until 10:45 a.m. 

9:53 a.m.

Derek Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, has asked for a continuance and renewed a motion for a change of venue. 

Questioning for Juror No. 52 continues. He said he loves sports and music, and isn't concerned for his safety in this trial if he were to serve on the jury. 

He is noted to be a youth sports coach, where he has dealt with sorting out conflicts amongst his players and the players' parents. 

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. 

Nelson noted that his client does not have to testify to Juror No. 52. 

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. 

"That's just something they're struggling with...  but they're still like anybody else," he said to the state prosecutor. 

9:42 a.m.

Juror No. 51 has been dismissed due to her being honest with the judge in saying recent developments seen on the news will not change her opinion on the case going forward. 

Juror No. 52, a man, now being questioned. 

9:20 a.m.

After a short recess to get jurors finished with orientation, questioning begins for the day. Juror No. 51 will be the first juror addressed. 

She noted that she had heard the news of the Floyd family settlement on Friday and that it has changed her opinion on the case. 

"From my own experience, I work in human resources... generally the preponderance of evidence in civil cases leans towards guilt," she said, adding that the amount given is likely due to the city feeling it could not prevail due to "preponderance of evidence."

She says she can't set aside her judgments for the trial. 

9:10 a.m.

Attorneys for each side and Judge Peter Cahill went over several motions Monday morning, but the highlight came shortly before the court took a brief recess ahead of the start of jury selection for the day.

Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson said he was "gravely concerned" by the timing of the city's $27 million settlement with George Floyd's family on Friday and said it could possibly taint the juror pool. Nelson discussed several possible measures to help ensure a fair jury, such as offering the defense more strikes and sequestering the jury.

Cahill said he'd take the requests under advisement and would grant the motion to question the jurors who have already been picked to see whether they have read anything about the settlement and if that changed their opinions.

Jury selection is set to continue at 9:15 a.m.

Jury selection is entering its second week in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer who is charged in the death of George Floyd.

Seven jurors have been chosen so far to hear evidence in Derek Chauvin's trial - five men and two women.

Four are white, one is mixed race, one is Black and one is Hispanic.

Attorneys will continue the process of questioning jurors one-by-one on Monday. They need to pick 14 people - 12 will deliberate and two will be alternates.

KSTP's complete trial coverage

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