World Protesters Chant 'Convict Killer Cops' Outside As Jury Selection for George Floyd Trial Begins
First Potential George Floyd Juror Dismissed After Calling His Death 'Not Fair'
The juror, a mother of three from Mexico, said she saw video footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck last summer, and couldn't understand why the officer didn't get up when Floyd said he couldn't breathe.The juror, a mother of three from Mexico, said she saw video footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck last summer, and couldn't understand why the officer didn't get up when Floyd said he couldn't breathe.
Protesters waved signs demanding "Justice for" and to "Convict Killer Cops" as jury selection began Monday in the trial of ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the highly fortified downtown Minneapolis courthouse where the voir dire process began in Chauvin's trial, one of four ex-officers involved in Floyd's May 2020 death. The process inside the courthouse was put on hold as prosecutors sought to add a third-degree murder charge to the case, but protests carried on outside. Massive banners proclaimed "the world is watching" and demanded Chauvin's conviction on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Speakers ranged from civil rights activists to the surviving relatives of Black men who were killed by police officers in other parts of the country.
‘The Whole World Is Watching’: Chauvin’s Murder Trial Isn’t Just About George Floyd
While the world watched Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin pin George Floyd to the ground by the knee for more than eight minutes last May, Amity Dimock-Heisler was still awaiting answers about the death of her own child at the hands of Minnesota police. In August 2019, her son, Kobe Dimock-Heisler, was shot six times by two Brooklyn Park police officers responding to a “disturbance call” at his grandparents’ house. The 21-year-old, who was on the autism spectrum and had a history of mental illness, had lost his temper at a local Wendy’s, and he turned his anger on his grandfather, Erwin Heisler, once they returned home, at one point grabbing a paring knife and hammer.
Multiple signs expressed solidarity with Floyd's family and also called for action to be taken against three other ex-police officers who appeared in the video which depicted Floyd's death. Barbed wire and National Guard troops surrounded the beefed up courthouse security.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:
As the judge and attorneys convened high above in an 18th-floor courtroom — with jury selection almost immediately stalling over the state's effort to add a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin — organizer DJ Hooker lamented the concrete barriers, chain-link fencing, barbed wire and razor wire that has gone up around the courthouse, along with National Guard troops and police standing guard behind.
As the George Floyd Murder Trial Begins, Here's What You Need to Know
The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Floyd's death, begins with jury selection on March 8.Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 last year after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes while he cried "I can't breathe" multiple times. Chauvin and other officers were arresting Floyd for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store.
"We ain't in that cage over there. What do they call it, the First Amendment zone? The Freedom Zone, I call it a cage," said Hooker, an organizer with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, which was formed after the 2015 death of Jamar Clark in a confrontation with Minneapolis police. "Look what they did to our beautiful downtown. They turned this into a war zone."
Sam Martinez, an organizer with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, said organizers plan similar protests for dates that coincide with significant points in Chauvin's trial, including opening statements, closing arguments and the verdict.
He said he expects the biggest turnout to be on the day of the verdict.
"When the people know that there needs to be justice, they'll come out," Martinez said. "We trust in the people, we know they'll back us up."
Judge Peter Cahill initially ruled that jury selection would begin as scheduled, but after prosecutors asked the Court of Appeals to put the case on hold, the judge sent the potential jurors home for the day and the rest of the day was spent ruling on motions. Cahill later said jury selection would resume Tuesday barring an order from the appellate court.
The trial of Derek Chauvin, charged with George Floyd’s death, has been delayed
The prosecution has asked to reinstate a third-degree murder charge.The third-degree murder charge, under Minnesota law, means the perpetrator acted in a way that was reckless at the risk of causing death and carries a sentence of no more than 25 years. Prosecutors are arguing for the charge because it is easier to prove than a second-degree unintentional felony murder. The pending charge would also provide options for jurors about how to convict, since police killings have historically gone unpunished.
There was no indication when that court will rule, but a hold could delay Chauvin's trial for weeks.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to dismiss 16 of the first 50 jurors they reviewed "for cause" based on their answers to a lengthy questionnaire. These dismissals weren't debated in court, but can happen for a host of reasons, such as views that indicate a juror can't be impartial.
Judge in Chauvin trial mulling impact of Floyd family settlement .
The city of Minneapolis last week agreed to pay $27m in a civil lawsuit filed by George Floyd’s family over his death. Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump called it the largest pretrial settlement ever for a civil rights claim. Legal experts said publicity about the settlement could be bad for the defence, leading some potential jurors to think guilt has been decided. But they doubted it would really affect the criminal trial. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said the state had no control over the Minneapolis city council and Mayor Jacob Frey, who announced the settlement.