MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jury selection continued Monday — one week before opening statements — in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death.
The court seated another juror Monday for Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial, for a total of 14. However, Judge Peter Cahill says he still wants at least one more juror to be seated.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Trial, Day 11 -- As It Happened
There are nine women and five men. Eight are white, four are Black and two identify as mixed-race. Jurors range in age from their 20s to a grandmother in her 60s.
Cahill said originally he was only going to choose two alternates, but decided he needed at least one more after the cascade of publicity surrounding the $27 million settlement between the City of Minneapolis and Floyd’s family.
The 14th juror is a recently-married white woman in her 20s who is a social worker. She strongly disagrees with defunding the police, and has a somewhat negative view of Chauvin. She says she had talked about the case with a family member.
“I specifically … have been involved in those conversations of, ‘He should not have had his knee on the neck for that long,’” the juror said.
She also told defense attorney Eric Nelson that she was frightened by the riots.
“On Twitter, you wrote that you were scared for the state of Minnesota, as we were told violence was moving to the suburbs on the news,” Nelson said.
“Yes,” the juror said.READ MORE: St. Paul Police, Fire Departments Amp Up Training, Prepare For Possible Unrest During Chauvin Trial
But she said she could put those views aside and be impartial. The multi-million-dollar settlement continues to hang over jury selection.
“By accident on social media I saw the amount that was given to the family,” a potential juror said.
While most prospective jurors said they would not be influenced by the settlement, a potential juror said Monday the news changed his mind.
“I guess it sort of swayed my opinion to hear that they got … that much money, I guess,” he said.
Judge Cahill dismissed him after he admitted he could not be impartial. Concern about the pretrial publicity is so concerning to Cahill that he says he wants more than just two alternates for this trial.
But the concern has not swayed him enough to grant another defense motion to move the trial out of Minneapolis – a request Cahill once again denied.
The last jurors chosen are not necessarily the alternates. Judge Cahill has not said how he will choose the alternates.
He said 12 prospective jurors will be brought in Tuesday for questioning in the hope of seating just one more for the panel for a total of 12 jurors and three alternates. Cahill admitted getting just one more isn’t a given, as he said in closing about Tuesday’s session, “Twelve or bust.”MORE NEWS: Judge Warns Media At Derek Chauvin Trial Of Possible Removal
Opening statements and testimony are scheduled to start on March 29.