State vs. Chauvin: One juror remains to be seated after day ten

Jury selection continues in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Jury selection continues in the trial of Derek Chauvin. |  Photo: WDIO

WDIO
Updated: March 19, 2021 04:56 PM
Created: March 19, 2021 09:42 AM

Just one more juror is needed for the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's death. A 13th juror was selected Friday morning for Derek Chauvin's trial. Seven potential jurors were questioned by the State and defense on Friday.  According to the court, there are five men, and eight women on the jury so far.

The selection of the latest juror, a white woman in her 50s, came after Judge Peter Cahill ruled on two major motions. The judge denied a request by the defense to delay or move the trial of former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. The judge also ruled to allow some evidence from Floyd's earlier arrest in 2019.

RELATED STORY: Judge OKs some evidence from 2019 arrest; Denies request to delay or move trial

Here are the happenings during Day Ten of court proceedings:

Jury selection continues. So far there are seven white jurors, four Black jurors, and two multiracial jurors, according to the court. 

After a short recess, the judge addressed the first potential juror of the day. Juror No. 96 says she isn't familiar with Black Lives Matter as an organization, but she believes they are about protecting Black lives and bringing issues to the forefront. She also believes "we need law enforcement."

The juror indicated she was interested in working on advocacy for the homeless population in the city, but said she does not harbor resentment against the Minneapolis Police Department for its involvement in issues involving the homelessness when asked by the defense.

The juror wrote in her questionnaire that she's nervous about how the public will respond to the verdict and whether there will be violence again.

She also responded in her questionnaire that she strongly disagreed with the statement that police would be more likely to use force against people of color than others. During questioning by the prosecution, she said police response depends on the actions of the person, and agreed with the statement that people who cooperate with the police should have nothing to worry about.

Juror No. 96 was selected as the 13th juror. One more is needed.

Judge Cahill excused two other jurors later in the morning. Juror 99 was dismissed after a discussion of her past work for a suburban police department. She said she thinks that would influence her decision, and agreed that it would be hard for her to put aside her feelings.

Juror 103 was dismissed after saying she "had a very strong emotional reaction to observing that video" and telling the judge that she couldn't confidently say that she would be able to be impartial.

The court has called in several more jurors for potential questioning Friday afternoon. Court will reconvene at 1:15.

The court has reconvened. After orientation by the judge of another group of potential jurors, Juror No. 109 is the first in the afternoon session.

Juror No. 109 told the court that he had attended a couple of protests this summer, one was held about six blocks away from where he lived and he went there out of curiosity. A friend also asked if he would go to a protest at WCCO in protest of a reporter who has ties with former Police Federation President Bob Kroll. He attended that protest. He says he didn't take a personal stance in that protest, saying he went because his friend wanted someone to come with her.

The juror is also aware of the $27 million civil settlement. The juror told the court, "I would still be impartial but I thought it was a dumb move by the city to do that during jury selection," the potential juror said, regarding the city settlement with Floyd's family being announced last week.

The man says he has served on a jury before in Florida. He called it "a good experience." He served as an alternate juror. 

He describes himself as a "friendly, honest person." He states he lives nearby to the Third Precinct in Minneapolis. He is currently unemployed but more recently worked for a major communications company. 

Juror No. 109 says he has seen videos of George Floyd's death on the news. Chauvin's attorney asked the potential juror how he views Derek Chauvin and George Floyd. Juror 109 answered, "neutral."

The defense attorney asked the juror about his description of Floyd in the questionaire, where he wrote,"shouldn't have died during the arrest process."  Eric Nelson asks whether the juror feels the death was at the hands of the police.  The juror replied, "I would say he died while in custody, yes" but could be several causes.

The juror said he considers defunding the police  an "idiotic idea."  He says he has relatives who are police officers. None of them are with the Minneapolis Police Department. He has another relative who is a nurse. Despite his relationships, he says he would not take an officer's word over someone else's automatically. 

He made it known in court that he will apply the presumption of innocence if he were selected for the jury. 

The state took over questioning, and Steve Schleicher asks the juror about their confersations about law enforcement relatives. Juror 109 says a cousin had a stroke and was unable to continue working as an officer. 

According to KSTP reporter Callan Gray, Schleicher asks Juror 109 about ability to be neutral in this case, he responds, " I know I definitely could be neutral."

Juror No. 109 has been excused from serving on the jury. The state is arguing he be excused for cause for bias. The judge opposed, and the state prosecution uses a peremptory challenge strike. They have three remaining. 

Juror No. 110 is next to be questioned. The juror in question states she had been exposed to images and opinions regarding this case on social media. She also heard about the jurors selected earlier this week on the radio. 

A portion of the questioning of Juror No. 110 was done off audio. When the audio was brought up, Juror No. 110 had been excused. The judge cites a reason as "it would be difficult for you to be impartial" based on the information given to the court. 

Juror No. 111 is next to be questioned. He says he works at a bar in central Minnesota and tells the judge that patrons "love to give their opinion" on the case to him. 

The juror notes that he is still in college and could see some challenges in switching up classes as the trial goes on. He adds if "need be" he will serve on the jury because it's his "civic duty." He states the class is a thesis class. 

The juror says taking a different class would not force him to add another semester to his studies. The juror says they were planning on taking another semester anyways.

He describes himself as a fan of art and rugby. In regards to settling conflict, he says he wants to hear both sides and talk it out. "We all have to agree," he adds.  He noted to the court he is able to switch up his stance on opinions when proven wrong.

"There's facts and the law...ignore everything else. That would not be the most difficult thing to follow," he said, when asked if he would be willing to accept the law as is during the trial.

Juror No. 111 says he is a fan of art and rugby. In regards to settling conflict, he says he wants to hear both sides and talk it out. "We all have to agree," he adds.

He noted to the court he is able to switch up his stance on opinions when proven wrong.

"There's facts and the law...ignore everything else. That would not be the most difficult thing to follow," he said, when asked if he would be willing to accept the law as is during the trial.

He has seen bystander video of the incident on social media in its entirety. He adds he has seen some snippets of other videos as well. 

The juror says he went to a "few" protests, calling for the officers to be "charged and fired." Despite his opinion, he says "opinion is meant to be changed." He reiterates he is able to be impartial. 

According to KSTP reporter Ana Lastra, the Juror 111 stated again that opinions don't matter in this case. It is about the facts. Lastra says the juror said he can presume innocence.

The court takes a short recess, and will continue with Juror No. 111 when it reconvenes.

When court resumes, the defense uses a peremptory challenge strike, dismissing Juror No. 111. 

The final juror of the day will be questioned next. Juror No. 113 He describes himself as a dog owner who enjoys playing guitar. He tells Chauvin's attorney that he was surprised when he found out that he could be on this case, but added "I felt like I could do an alright job with it."

Juror No. 113 tells the court he was carjacked on Feb. 11. He states he is able to preside in a criminal case despite that occurrence. He got his car back and "a decent amount of the items" inside the vehicle. He has not heard about any arrests made. He stated he is satisfied with the police's response in that situation. 

He tells the defense he made a negative judgment on Chauvin based on the video he saw. However, the juror stated he can be impartial during the trial.

He said he would stand his ground in his beliefs based on facts and evidence when discussing the case with the jury. 

Juror No. 113 dismissed by the judge, court will resume at 9 a.m. on Monday.

The Associated Press has contributed to this report.

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