MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continued Tuesday, as the judge overseeing the case weighed whether or not to delay proceedings due to the city’s $27 million settlement with George Floyd’s family. What follows are the live updates as the day progressed:
UPDATE (4:25 p.m.): Potential juror No. 73 was dismissed, leaving Tuesday finished with no new jurors added to the nine that have already been selected.
In questioning, he said he is aware of the $27 million settlement but didn’t think it would affect his outlook, though he said he thought the “timing [of the announcement] was odd,” and that it usually takes place after the criminal case.
He said he had some concerns about the length of the trial as he is self-employed and has financial concerns for his family. He works in real estate, and is married [for 23 years] with three children. He said his initial response about potentially being seated on the jury for this trial was that he didn’t want to be involved, specifically because of that financial aspect.
Under questioning by defense attorney Eric Nelson, he said he would be willing to dig in his heels and go against the majority of the jury in coming to a verdict if there was something that swayed his opinion.
No. 73 says he’s “not big on the news,” and mostly watches weather and sports, expressing that he thinks media try to bias thinking one way or the other.
He also told lawyers that his impression of Chauvin is as a “hardass.” He also talked about how one of his closest friends is a police officer, and he has two clients who are also officers, with whom he keeps in touch.
No. 73 said he has not talked about Chauvin case with his police officer friend. He answered “I don’t know” whether he’d belief the testimony of an officer more than a bystander before admitting he would believe law enforcement more. Asked to clarify by defense attorney Nelson, he said he would try to evaluate both perspectives as equal.
UPDATE (3:25 p.m.): Judge Peter Cahill dismisses potential juror No. 71 for cause. As of yet, no jurors have been seated Tuesday.
During questioning, No. 71 said he heard of the $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family, but that it affected him very little.
He said he’s a “fun guy to be around” and that he loves his family like most people.
No. 71 said it will take effort to set aside his opinion, but he’ll do everything possible to uphold his civic duty. He says he’s “wrestling with it.” The defense said it’s concerned about the juror’s ability to overcome his preconceived notions.
No. 71 was hung up on questioning on whether he could be an impartial juror despite seeing the image of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd being “seared” into his mind.
UPDATE (2 p.m.): Judge Cahill denies defense’s request to get a strike back.
Cahill said he believes the leaked reports of the plea deal with Chauvin is more concerning than the $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family, when it comes to tainting the jury pool.
Also, Cahill said the settlement was not just a legal decision, but also a “political” decision. However, he said no one in the court was involved in that decision.
Jury selection resumes.
UPDATE (1:45 p.m.): Defense is asking for a strike back after using it against potential juror No. 69.
State says court should deny that, and that the $27 million settlement with George Floyd’s family has been overblown.
UPDATE (12:05 p.m.): Judge Peter Cahill agrees to re-interview the seven jurors seated last week in light of the announcement of the City of Minneapolis’ $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd.
The interviews will take place over Zoom on Wednesday morning following the pretrial hearing.
On Monday, the defense had raised concerns that the publicity around the settlement announcement on Friday would affect the jurors’ perception of the case.
UPDATE (12 p.m.): Potential juror No. 69 is struck from the jury by the defense. This is the fifth potential juror to be excused from the case Tuesday.
Potential juror No. 69 told the court that he is an avid outdoorsmen who served in the military and was deployed internationally. He reported having a “very negative” view of Derek Chauvin. In the questionnaire, he wrote that it’d be difficult for him to presume the former Minneapolis police officer to be innocent in the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, repeatedly asked if the potential juror thought he could be impartial in the case. The potential juror said that he could, explaining that he takes jury service seriously.
The defense used a strike to excuse potential juror No. 69 from the jury. The defense has four strikes remaining; they’ve used 11 already. The state also has four strikes remaining.
The court is working to seat three more jurors and two alternates. Opening statements in the trial are slated for March 29.
So far on Tuesday, no jurors have been seated.
UPDATE (11:01 a.m.): Potential juror No. 67 is struck from the case by the defense. He is the fourth potential juror to be excused from the case Tuesday morning.
Potential juror No. 67 described himself as an executive director of a youth organization. He told the court he had a “somewhat negative” view of Derek Chauvin and believed the death of George Floyd was wrong.
While he thought the the media might exaggerate discrimination in America, he also believes that new reports about police violence against minorities are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
No. 67 told the defense he wanted to serve in the case. When asked if he thought justice might involve a not guilty verdict, he said, “Yes.”
The defense struck No. 67 from the case. The defense has five more strikes to use; they’ve used 10 already.
UPDATE (10:20 a.m.): Potential juror No. 66 is excused for cause. She was the third juror to be excused from jury duty Tuesday morning.
The woman told the court that she did not want to be a part of the trial. She expressed concern over not being able to be with her young child and moving issues in the coming weeks.
Judge Peter Cahill excused her for cause.
UPDATE (10:07 a.m.): Potential juror No. 64 is excused for cause.
The potential juror told the court that he works for a software company that does business with a media company. In the course of his coding work, he sees headlines daily about the case.
He told the court that he knew about the City of Minneapolis’ $27 million settlement with George Floyd’s family.
Judge Peter Cahill excused him from jury duty.
UPDATE (9:57 a.m.): Potential juror No. 63 is excused for cause.
The potential juror was a recent college graduate and had a job lined up as a long-term substitute teacher. Jury duty would have required the school to get another substitute.
She told the court that it was “more than likely” that jury duty would be a hardship for her. She expressed concern for her students and career.
UPDATE (9:15 a.m.): Judge Peter Cahill said that he would take up motions over the $27 million civil settlement with George Floyd’s family on Tuesday.
On Monday, the defense had asked for a continuance and renewed a push for a change of venue, arguing that the announcement tainted the jury pool.
Also on Tuesday, the judge expressed frustration with the city over the timing of the announcement.
UPDATE (9:02 a.m.): In a pretrial hearing, both sides in the Derek Chauvin trial argued Tuesday morning about adding George Floyd’s May 2019 arrest as evidence.
Judge Peter Cahill had previously ruled the May 2019 arrest as irrelevant. However, the defense brought it up again in light of the pills with Floyd’s DNA found in the squad car used in the 2020 arrest.
The defense argued that 2019 arrest showed that Floyd had a pattern of ingesting drugs when being arrested. During that earlier arrest, paramedics said Floyd was at risk of a heart attack or a stroke. He was then hospitalized.
The prosecution argued that the defense was trying to disparage Floyd’s struggles with opiate addiction. They said the issue for the trial was the “objective reasonableness” of Chauvin’s behavior, not Floyd’s.
The judge said he would take the arguments under advisement until Wednesday. He also left open the possibility that some of the details in the May 2019 arrest could be included as evidence while others will be excluded.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is set to continue Tuesday as the judge overseeing the case weighs whether or not to delay proceedings due to the city’s $27 million settlement with George Floyd’s family.
During a motions hearing Monday, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, asked Judge Peter Cahill for a continuance and renewed his push for a change of venue over concerns that the jury pool would be tainted by the historic settlement, which was announced on Friday. Nelson also asked for more strikes for the defense and that the seven jurors who’d been seated up to that point be called back for questioning.
The judge was sympathetic to the defense’s concerns, and said that he will evaluate the most significant motions: that the trial be delayed and moved out of Hennepin County. He denied the call for more strikes for the defense, but did agree to recall the seven seated jurors for more questioning.
Defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, said it’s unlikely the trial will be moved out of Hennepin County. “The odds are low,” he said on WCCO This Morning.
It’s unclear when Cahill will decide on the motions.
During jury selection on Monday, the first potential juror told the court that because of the news of the settlement she didn’t believe she could be impartial in the case. She said she nearly gasped when she heard the $27 million figure.
Still, the eighth and ninth jurors were seated on Monday, and no other potential jurors mentioned hearing about the settlement.
The eighth juror is a Black man in his 30s who is a banker and a youth sports coach. He said he had a neutral view of both Chauvin and Floyd, and feels that discrimination is a widespread problem.
The ninth juror is a white woman in her 50s who is an executive assistant at a health clinic. She said she has a somewhat negative view of both Chauvin and Black Lives Matter. “All lives matter to me,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who they are or what they are, they all matter because we are all important in this world.”
Of the nine jurors seated so far, four are people of color. Six of the jurors are men, three are women. The court still needs to seat three more jurors and two alternates.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Three other former Minneapolis police officers are also charged with aiding and abetting; their trial is slated for August.
Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25 outside a south Minneapolis convenience store. Bystander video of his arrest showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on his neck for several minutes as Floyd lay prone, handcuffed and repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd’s death sparked unrest in the Twin Cities and a national reckoning over racial inequity and police brutality.