George Floyd murder
(Fiora Watts/Shutterstock)

Jury Set in Murder Trial of George Floyd; Opening Arguments to Begin Monday

A final jury has been set in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. Opening arguments in the trial are slated to begin on Monday, March 29.

Rochelle Olson and Paul Walsh of the Minneapolis Star Tribune have reported that the 15 people selected for the jury — including alternates — consist of six people of color and nine white people. Nine jurors are women and six are men.

“The jurors are a multi-race woman in her 20s, a multi-race woman in her 40s, two Black men in their 30s, a Black man in his 40s, a Black woman in her 60s, four white women in their 50s, a white woman in her 40s, a white man in his 30s, two white men in their 20s, and a white woman in her 20s,” they reported.

According to Olson and Walsh, jury selection lasted more than two weeks and was nearly derailed when the city of Minneapolis announced on March 12 a record $27 million lawsuit settlement with Floyd’s family due to his death in police custody.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the case, recalled and questioned seven jurors who had been selected prior to the city’s announcement and ultimately dismissed two individuals from the trial after they reported that news of the settlement payment had impacted their impartiality.

In a case that has permanently changed race relations and renewed the push for social justice reform around the planet, Chauvin, a longtime officer with the Minneapolis police force, was recorded on video by multiple bystanders kneeling on Floyd’s neck for a tortuous 8 minutes and 46 seconds as he begged for Chauvin to get up, saying he couldn’t breathe. 

Following Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, Chauvin was charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter. Three other former Minneapolis police officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are expected to stand trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

The 46-year-old Floyd, who had recently lost his job as a restaurant bouncer due to the then-emerging COVID-19 pandemic, was alleged to have tried buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store when police were called — and ultimately took his life.

Following completion of final jury selection in the case, Ben Crump, the attorney who helped the Floyd family win their civil settlement, issued a statement, saying: “This is not a hard case. George Floyd had more witnesses to his death than any other person ever — white or Black. We all saw the same thing — the indisputable and unjustified torture and murder by a police officer of a Black man who was handcuffed, restrained and posed no harm.”

The trial of Chauvin is expected to begin on the morning of March 29 with opening sides from both the prosecution and the defense in the case. The trial is expected to last upwards of a month. 

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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