MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jurors will get the Derek Chauvin case next week. Few know what it’s like to serve on such a high-profile trial. A juror who convicted a former Minneapolis police officer of murdering Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017 is speaking out for the first time.

Only on WCCO: He told Jennifer Mayerle about the emotional toll of making that decision.

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Scott Vetsch says he thinks about his time serving on the jury in the Mohamed Noor trial almost daily.

“The same issues continue, the same issues are going on. I think about it all the time I guess,” Vetsch said.

He says the experience was intense from the moment he was selected.

“You just feel really intimately connected pretty quickly,” Vetsch said.

And he calls being on a high-profile case a heavy responsibility.

“I just wanted to do the best I could for all the people involved,” Vetsch said.

Vetsch said it was exhausting.

“It took everything paying that close of attention to all these details. A case like that, it’s just a tragedy. No one really wins or loses anything, because you can’t make it different. So that was the hard part really, you can’t fix it,” Vetsch said.

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Vetsch says being plucked out of regular life felt foreign. The jurors couldn’t talk to anyone else about the case, so they talked to each other.

“They’re the only people that know what you’re going through. It was great to be with them,” Vetsch said.

The jury was sequestered while they deliberated. They each had their own hotel room, with security outside. Phones were taken.

“It would have been really intense to do that for weeks. I only had to do it for one night. We worked through it pretty quickly,” Vetsch said.

He says by the time they got the case, the answer became more clear.

“Once you hear all the testimony, it leads you somewhere. There aren’t many options really when you put all the pieces in place. You could have emotions but, you couldn’t use the emotions really in that,” Vetsch said.

Vetsch has listened to the Derek Chauvin trial and says he pays attention in a different way than he did before serving on the Noor jury.
He says he needed some distance after delivering the verdict in 2019. But thought now was the right time to share his experience.

“I guess to help us all keep focused after this, because it’s, we have to keep focused on this, and solve some of these problem,” Vetsch said.

Mayerle asked, “When you saw this, are you again referring to police interactions with the community?” “Yes,” responded Vetsch.

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Another juror told Mayerle serving on the jury was the experience of a lifetime. They said it was a great responsibility, emotional, exhausting and difficult. Another said they were relieved to learn they were an alternate. They were ready to take the pressure off of thinking so intensely.

Jennifer Mayerle