World Derek Chauvin trial: Dismissed juror says George Floyd video made her cry, rioting necessary in BLM movement
3rd-Degree Murder Charge in George Floyd's Death Under Review Days Before Jury Selection Begins
On Friday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals called for a judge to reconsider reinstating the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin, who is charged with Floyd's death while in police custody last May. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the charge in 2020.On Friday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals called for a judge to reconsider reinstating the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the charge, one of seven issued against Chauvin, in 2020.
As jury selection continued for a third day Thursday in the trial for ex-Derek Chauvin, one juror was dismissed by the court with cause after explaining that she could not "un-see" what she described as the "traumatizing" bystander video showing a knee pressed to ’s neck – and stating that the rioting that following his death was necessary to advance the
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the woman identified as "Juror #37," expressing doubts that she could reasonably presume Chauvin is innocent until proven guilty. By the end of day Wednesday, five jurors – out of ultimately 14 sought – had been seated, and questioning continues Thursday.
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.
"I'm going to focus on one issue and that's the presumption of innocence," Cahill said, addressing "Juror #37." "Do you think you could do that -- presume that he is innocent as you enter the courtroom?"
"I wouldn't like that verdict," she stated, before the judge interjected, "So if it if it was 'not guilty.'"
Cahill thanked the woman for his honestly and dismissed her. Addressing the defense and prosecutors after she left, the judge explained, "When I finally gave her the space to say, how do you feel, do you think sitting here right now and it has to be right now, not later, do you can you presume the defendant innocent? She answered unequivocally, no."
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.
In an earlier line of questioning lead by Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, the woman reiterated that she wrote a lengthy paragraph on her juror questionnaire that she believed that Chauvin had a "hateful look on his face" as he pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck in the bystander video that went viral online last May.
She said in the questionnaire that she had a neutral opinion toward Floyd because she did not know him personally, but she saw media reports of family members saying he was a "good guy." Before filling out the questionnaire, the woman said she watched police body-camera footage showing Chauvin and Floyd’s interactions on May 25, 2020 about three or four times – but she was only able to view the viral bystander video from start to finish once due to her strong emotional response.
"The one where you can hear him crying out for his mom," she said. "I was only able to watch that one time."
Trial of Derek Chauvin in the United States: fear of an acquittal
© AFP - KEREM YUCEL Demonstrators protest in Minneapolis ahead of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of having killed George Floyd, on March 8 2021. The trial of Derek Chauvin, which opened on March 8 in Minneapolis, United States, resumes on Tuesday. Despite a damning video that has gone around the world showing this white cop suffocating George Floyd with his knee for nearly nine minutes, many in Minneapolis fear he will be acquitted.
The juror wrote in the questionnaire that she cried upon watching to video. Because the bystander video is submitted as evidence in the case, Nelson pointed out that anyone who sits on the jury would need to watch the video again.
The juror wrote in the questionnaire that her community has been both negatively and positively affected.
"I mean negatively affected because there was a life taken -- positively affected because it's become a movement and the whole world knows about it" she told the court, explaining the response.
Nelson pressed as to whether she considered property damage that occurred during rioting following Floyd’s death a negative impact.
"I feel like if that was what needed to happen in order for this to be brought to the world's attention and that's what needed to happen," she said.
Nelson read the next question in the questionnaire that asked: "No matter what you have seen or heard about this case and no matter what opinions you might have formed, can you put all of that aside and decide this case only on the evidence you receive in court, follow the law and decide the case in a fair and impartial manner?"
Publicity surrounding George Floyd case a challenge for jury selection
Millions of people have watched the video of George Floyd's death. A dozen will decide the fate of the white policeman seen kneeling for nearly nine minutes on the neck of the 46-year-old Black man. Seating a 12-member jury for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force, is particularly difficult because the case has received such widespread publicity. "The challenge is to find jurors who have not made up their mind, who have not prejudged the case," said David Schultz of the law school of Hamline University.
The woman wrote, "Yes, I can be fair and follow the law, but I cannot see that video."
"This is what I'm asking you to do, is looking in your heart and looking in your mind, can you assure us unequivocally that you can set all of that aside? All of that and focus only on the evidence that's presented in this courtroom?" Nelson asked.
"I can assure you," she responded. "But like you mentioned earlier, the video is going to be a big part of evidence and there's no changing my mind about that."
Following the juror's dismissal, Special Attorney for the State Steven Schleicher objected to that fact that the court moved to dismiss her with cause, arguing that she stated that she could put her opinions aside in the case and if the defense wanted to use their peremptory challenges to remove her, they could have.
Nelson said the defense made a motion for cause over "several equivocal statements" made by the juror over her ability to be impartial in terms of how the video had impacted her emotionally. Cahill granted that motion and dismissed her with cause over the presumption of innocence question.
"I recognize that this juror said that she could set aside her opinions," Nelson said. "However, whenever pressed even by the state, she had very difficult, a very difficult time acknowledging that she could apply the presumption of innocence because of her viewing of the video. And then it would be essentially that she was had already made up her mind."
Teacher Quits Over Use of George Floyd's Name in Chemistry Quiz .
Students at H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Arlington, Virginia were asked to fill in the missing element in a sentence describing Floyd's death.Students at H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Arlington were asked to fill in the missing chemical element in a sentence describing Floyd's death as part of an assignment in November last year, The Washington Post reported.