MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, is moving ahead.
Jury selection began Tuesday morning. Three jurors have been seated, but nine more are needed. All of this is happening as the wait continues for the Minnesota Court of Appeals to rule on whether a third-degree murder charge will be added.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Trial, Day 2 -- As It Happened
WCCO spoke with attorney Joe Tamburino, who’s not involved with this case, about what it takes to get seated on a jury.
“You have to be fair and impartial, you have to be able to look at all the evidence and not decide the case until all the evidence is into the jury, and if you have any prejudices or biases, then you can’t be on the jury,” Tamburino said.
Throughout the jury selection process, Chauvin — in a light grey suit and mask — took extensive notes, and occasionally joined his attorney in a huddle as they discussed whether jurors should be on the case.
Many of those questioned revealed they had strong views of the case. One 19-year-old trade school student said his father was once racially profiled by Minneapolis police.
“From what I know, the MPD has a history of corruption. I just hear that there’s a lot of bad cops in the MPD. I don’t really trust law enforcement,” he said.
That juror was eliminated from the pool by Judge Peter Cahill. Another prospective juror, a middle-aged Hispanic woman, was asked about this answer on her questionnaire.
“The question asked, ‘Why do you fell that you want to be a juror on this case?’ That was the question, and you wrote, ‘Because I would like to give my opinion of the unjust death of George Floyd.’ Do you remember writing that?” Nelson said.
“Yeah, I did,” she said.
She was also eliminated, as well as another Hispanic juror, who was a man in his 20s or 30s.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Trial, Day 1: Jury Selection Paused For At Least A Day
“You said, ‘The cop performed an illegal tactic with his knee across the neck,’” Nelson said.
“Yes, in the video it looks like his knee’s a little high,” the man said.
The prosecution objected to the defense striking the two Hispanic jurors, arguing that violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s Batson challenge — a ruling that bars exclusion from juries solely on race.
“The defense has made its peremptory challenge now in its second person of color in the jury pool, and the state has raised the Batson challenge,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said.
Judge Cahill ruled the exclusions were proper, and that the defense had used criteria other than race.
The first juror chosen to be on the panel is a white man in his 20 or 30s. He’s a chemist by profession, is involved in his synagogue, and lives in Minneapolis with his fiancé. Nelson asked him about his answers on the jury questionnaire.
“The questionnaire asked you, ‘The criminal justice system is biased against racial and ethnic minorities?’ And you strongly agreed with that?” Nelson said.
“Yes,” the juror said.
The second juror picked is a woman in her 20s or 30s, originally from northern Minnesota, whose uncle is a police officer. She is believed to be a person of color.
A third juror, chosen late Tuesday afternoon, is a white man in his 30s who works as an auditor. He said whether or not someone was under the influence of drugs should not affect how they are judged in this case.MORE NEWS: Senate GOP Approves $20 Million For Chauvin Trial, But Seeks To Delay New Police Requirements
Jury selection will continue Wednesday morning.