We might not know the names of the jurors for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the previous Minneapolis police officer charged with homicide and manslaughter within the dying of George Floyd.
But that doesn’t imply we don’t know something about them.
Over about two weeks, legal professionals for the prosecution and protection quizzed potential jurors about their data of Floyd’s dying, their opinions of Chauvin, and their attitudes about police, racial injustice, and the protests and rioting that adopted Floyd’s dying.
Some questioned how a lot drive was used towards Floyd, who lay on the bottom for greater than 9 minutes as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. Several consider the prison justice system must be reformed. More than one questioned the motion to defund police departments.
Discussing her opinion about Black Lives Matter, one lady responded, “I am Black, and my life matters.”
The jurors pledged to set their opinions aside. But their answers provide a glimpse into how they might respond to the evidence in the coming weeks.
Opening arguments are to start Monday.
Twelve people will sit on the jury and two will serve as alternates. For Chauvin’s trial, a 15th person was selected, too. He is set to be dismissed Monday morning if the others arrive as scheduled.
Citing his science training, the first juror selected said he is “pretty logical” and passionate about his work. He mentioned that background would make him an excellent juror.
He performs Ultimate Frisbee and steadily hikes and backpacks through the hotter months. He and his fiancee not too long ago visited the realm the place George Floyd died, partly as a result of they’ve thought of shifting to that space of Minneapolis, he mentioned.
He mentioned he had not seen the now-famous bystander video of the confrontation that ended with Floyd’s dying, solely nonetheless photos. But he mentioned he’d be keen to look at the video through the trial: “For the sake of the jury process, I would be willing to be uncomfortable.”
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead defense lawyer, asked the juror what he meant when he wrote on his juror questionnaire that Floyd had been “killed” by Chauvin. “I wouldn’t say it’s demonstrative of my opinion,” the juror replied.
He said his personal impression of the Minneapolis Police Department “is fine.”
Questioned about his opinions on Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, he said, “I support the message that every life should matter equally.”
Getting an opportunity to serve on the Chauvin jury was the explanation this younger lady registered to vote, she advised the courtroom. “I was super-excited” to be referred to as for the jury, she mentioned. “That’s actually why I voted.”
The young woman, whose occupation didn’t come up during jury questioning, has an uncle who works as a police officer in northern Minnesota. One of her only concerns about jury duty was whether she would have time to check her blood sugar because she has Type 1 diabetes.
Like some other jurors, she said she could face personal risk by serving. “But I’m not as concerned about it as I probably should be,” she said.
Friends “kind of consider me to a type of mediator,” she said, which could be helpful during jury deliberations.
She said she believes her community improved because of the massive protests that took place after Floyd’s death. Asked about her opinion on Black Lives Matter, she said, “I like the idea of what it’s supposed to be about. But it’s been turned into a marketing scheme by companies.”
She noted that she’d heard some people mention that Floyd had drugs in his system. “I don’t necessarily agree” that drugs could have caused his death, she said. “It could have everything to do with it. It could have nothing to do with it.”
This juror said one concern about serving on the jury would be whether he could block out enough time from work for what’s estimated to be a four-week trial.
A friend of a friend is a police officer, but the acquaintance wouldn’t sway his views, the juror said. Besides, the officer is on the K-9 unit and mostly “talks about his dog” with him, the man said.
The juror has seen parts of the bystander video two or three times, he said, but not the whole thing.
Questioned by prosecutor Steve Schleicher, he said he’d read that Floyd might have had “hard drugs in his system,” meaning anything stronger than marijuana. “Frankly, I don’t think that should have much influence on the case. Whether you’re involved in drugs or not shouldn’t affect whether you end up alive or dead,” he said.
He dismissed reports that Floyd had what he described as a “checkered previous,” saying, “What happened in the past shouldn’t be on trial here.”
Regarding Black Lives Matter, he said: “I think some of the ways that groups have gone about it hasn’t been the best. But I believe Black lives matter.”
The West Africa-born man who emigrated to the U.S. 14 years in the past mentioned he and his spouse mentioned “how it could have been me, or anyone else,” who died. He appeared to say that not due to his pores and skin colour, however as a result of the couple as soon as lived within the space the place Floyd died.
Since coming to the U.S., he’s turn out to be a giant fan of American soccer, rooting for the Minnesota Vikings and the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota. He mentioned he withdrew from social media about a decade in the past for safety and privateness causes. He manages a number of individuals at work and helps resolve conflicts, he mentioned.
He noticed clips of the video on TV. Based on what he noticed and conversations with household and buddies, he wrote on his jury questionnaire that he had a “somewhat negative” opinion of Chauvin.
However, he mentioned he did not know what had occurred earlier than the video began. Referring to Floyd, he mentioned: “I think it was important for me to know the facts that led to his arrest and how he ended up dying.”
People in his neighborhood understood the protests that adopted Floyd’s dying, he mentioned. However, they “were not okay with the looting” that occurred.
He opposes the motion to defund police departments. “For the police to make my community safe,” he mentioned, “they have to have the money.”
This single mom has two sons in highschool and mentioned she loves the outside.
Although she watched solely a few of the bystander video, what she noticed was troubling. “It was emotional,” she mentioned. “I decided I didn’t want to watch it.”
In her juror questionnaire, she wrote that she didn’t know police procedures. “But a man died, and that’s not procedure,” she wrote. Floyd was “not a model citizen,” however he “didn’t deserve to die,” she wrote.
She “had sympathy for Mr. Floyd, as well as the officers,” she wrote, as a result of “everyone’s life changed.”
During jury questioning, the lady mentioned she is anxious about private security and privateness, though the choose mentioned jurors’ names wouldn’t be made public till someday after the trial when he deems it secure.
She mentioned the protests after Floyd’s dying produced one thing good – “the raising of voices around the world for change – and something bad. “The businesses suffered,” she mentioned.
Although she mentioned she “wouldn’t want a community without” police, she helps prison justice reform. “It’s years and years of laws made for a society that no longer exists. And it’s got to change,” she mentioned.
She mentioned a Black pal at work had taught her about inherent bias by describing the detailed directions she felt she wanted to provide her son on what to do if he have been ever pulled over by police.
“I never thought about that for my son,” the juror mentioned.
He mentioned he enjoys his job as a result of he works one-on-one with prospects and helps them set and meet monetary objectives. A basketball fan, he coaches youth sports activities, which he mentioned usually entails mediating disputes amongst dad and mom over their children’ enjoying time.
He wrote on his questionnaire that he wished to be picked for the jury as a result of “from all the protests … this is the most historic case of my lifetime and I’d like to be a part of it.”
He mentioned he’s seen elements of the bystander video two or thrice, however by no means in its entirety.
He voiced robust opinions in his juror questionnaire, however in courtroom he mentioned he might assess the trial proof impartially.
He didn’t suppose Chauvin “set out to murder anyone,” he wrote. However, “Why didn’t the other officers stop Chauvin?”
Apparently referring to Chauvin, he wrote: “I don’t know if he was doing something wrong or not. But somebody did die.”
The juror recounted interactions with police that painted them in several methods. Once he noticed cops slam a child to the bottom, which he characterised as overkill. However, some cops go to the gymnasium the place he works out, and “they’re great guys,” he mentioned.
Answering a query from Schleicher, a prosecutor, he mentioned he would be capable to clarify a not-guilty verdict to the youngsters he coaches.
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The mom of two older kids, an assistant to a healthcare trade govt, mentioned a few of the rioting that erupted after Floyd’s dying occurred close to her residence.
She’s a motorbike fanatic who started using together with her husband earlier than he died. She mentioned she nonetheless rides her 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail “with him, now, in spirit.”
She mentioned she had heard about the bystander video in information studies, however she “could never watch the whole thing” as a result of it might be “too disturbing for me.”
On her questionnaire, she wrote about the cops: “I think they could have handled it differently.”
She provided combined views about police typically. Last summer time, she noticed cops query a younger Black man who had been yelled at by a lady. She described the police response as “harassment.”
However, she mentioned had “placed trust” in cops. “I believe in that, unless they show me something different,” she mentioned.
Referring to the protestors who lashed out after Floyd’s dying, she mentioned, “maybe they felt they were never heard. … I don’t believe that to be true, but I’m not them.”
An immigrant who got here to Minnesota roughly 18 years in the past, this man was among the many potential jurors who knew about the $27 million civil settlement the town of Minneapolis reached with Floyd’s household over his dying. The settlement was introduced throughout jury choice.
“I don’t know what it was about,” he mentioned. “I will put it aside.”
After saying he had seen the bystander video, the person mentioned “it would be helpful” if Chauvin testified in his personal protection. However, he mentioned he wouldn’t maintain it towards the previous officer if he exercised his constitutional proper to not testify.
The man mentioned he had not shaped an opinion about who or what killed Floyd.
He mentioned he was happy with how police responded after his residence was burglarized, though they have been unable to resolve the crime. The “defund the police” motion is misguided, he mentioned. “If they were defunded, how could they come and help me?”
Questioned about Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, the person mentioned, “every life matters, and should not be disrespected.”
The man mentioned he’s educating a younger relative the right way to drive, which prompted an trade about police stops. If his younger relative have been pulled over by cops, he mentioned he would advise him to cease and reply their questions.
“Cooperation is good,” he mentioned. “That is my opinion, yes.”
Americans’ views on race and policing shift as Derek Chauvin trial begins
Americans’ views on race and policing shift as Derek Chauvin trial begins.
The working mom was amongst a number of jurors who’d heard about the civil settlement Minneapolis reached with Floyd’s household. Familiar with such agreements from work, she mentioned she doesn’t consider they “declare guilt.”
She mentioned she noticed elements of the bystander video a number of instances. “I only know that George (Floyd) died due to this encounter,” she wrote in her juror questionnaire, including that the cops appeared to take “little to no action” about Floyd’s situation.
However, she wrote, “I have no idea what occurred earlier than.”
Like some other jurors, she had some safety concerns about being involved with the high-profile trial, saying jurors could be targeted.
The protests after Floyd’s death brought positives and negatives to her community, she said. They gave a voice to people who “really didn’t feel heard,” she said. But there was “a lot of damage done to businesses and probably homes.”
She said she has never had personal experiences with inequality. Schleicher asked what she thought would happen if she inadvertently left a store without paying for something.
She replied that she would expect to be questioned and treated “respectfully,” and she would cooperate with police, as she’d been taught. She said someone who doesn’t cooperate with police is like a speeding driver who won’t pull over when the lights and siren come on.
“That’s not me,” she said.
The single woman who lives alone and likes visiting her nieces and nephews said she cares for patients on ventilators, including many battling COVID-19.
She knew about the civil settlement with the Floyd family and said she didn’t think it would affect her decision-making one way or another. She said she saw parts of the bystander video four or five times.
Before deciding what happened, she said she’d like to know more, including what training Chauvin had received and whether Floyd had been armed or resisted police. “I’d have to weigh what the experts would say and what the judge directs,” she said.
She said she hadn’t formed an opinion about what caused Floyd’s death or who was responsible. But she said this about how long Chauvin knelt on his neck: “I suppose knowing that Mr. Floyd died, I would say, yes, it was too long.”
In her jury questionnaire, she strongly agreed that minorities receive unequal treatment in the criminal justice system. Under questioning, she said she did not automatically trust police officers. “They’re human,” she said.
Challenged on why she should be chosen as a juror, she said, “I think I can be impartial and listen to instructions I’m given and ignore the outside stuff.”
She said she would avoid using her training to act like an expert in medical issues for other jurors. However, she said, “We all use our life experiences to make judgments.”
The grandmother who loves to visit her two grandchildren and volunteer at a youth organization was prepared for jury questioning. She was one of the few people who brought a copy of her pretrial questionnaire.
She’d heard about Minneapolis’ civil settlement with the Floyd family and said it had not affected her thoughts on the case.
She said the bystander video has popped up on social media. She probably watched it “for four or five minutes” before turning it off. “It just wasn’t something I needed to see,” she said.
In answering the questionnaire, she said she was neutral on both Floyd and Chauvin. About the protests that followed, she said, there have been “so many stores that have been looted or destroyed.” However, “I think some people may have come together or helped businesses get back on their feet.”
Police officers don’t make her feel unsafe, she said. “I do know they are there to protect the community, and I appreciate that,” she explained.
And she offered a personal view of Black Lives Matter: “I am Black, and my life matters.”
She was shocked to receive the jury duty summons and questionnaire for the Chauvin trial. “I didn’t expect to be part of something of this magnitude,” she said.
The spotlight on the trial makes her concerned about personal safety after the proceedings conclude, she said.
She said she saw snippets of the bystander video four to five times. She wrote on her juror questionnaire that she had formed a somewhat negative view toward Chauvin and Floyd.
“I don’t believe he deserved to die, but the police used excessive force, and he wasn’t perfectly innocent,” she wrote.
She offered a similarly mixed view about the movement for police reform. “I would be terrified if our police departments were dismantled, but it’s obvious that change has to happen,” she said.
Answering questions from the prosecution, she said she had heard Floyd had been involved with drugs. She has known people with addiction problems, specifically with alcohol, she said.
“There’s causes they wrestle with dependancy,” she defined. “That doesn’t make them bad people.”
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The self-described animal lover with a keenness for canine mentioned she had seen clips of the bystander video on tv two or thrice.
On her questionnaire, she wrote, “This restraint ultimately was responsible for Mr. Floyd’s demise.” However, she added a caveat: “The video may not show the entirety of the situation that happened.”
When questioned about the confrontation between Chauvin and Floyd, she mentioned, “It could have been handled differently.”
She is the one member of the jury who mentioned her office had been broken after Floyd’s dying. “It was not due to protests, it was due to rioting,” she mentioned. Some individuals “took an opportunity to break in.”
The injury wouldn’t have an effect on her impartiality, she mentioned.
She wrote on her questionnaire that she strongly agreed that police in her neighborhood make her really feel secure. “I have had no issues with law enforcement,” she mentioned in courtroom.
Under questioning by the prosecution, she agreed that individuals who cooperate with cops don’t have anything to worry. “If you’re not listening to what the commands are, obviously, something needs to happen,” she mentioned.
The married lady who not too long ago acquired a Goldendoodle pet mentioned she was detached when she obtained the jury obligation summons and questionnaire for the Chauvin trial. “I’m a registered voter. I knew it was coming” finally, she mentioned.
She mentioned she had heard about the $27 million settlement with the Floyd household however didn’t suppose it might have an effect on her judgment within the prison trial. “I don’t know something about it; I simply noticed the quantity and that was it.”
She said she’d seen parts of the bystander video four or five times on TV. On her questionnaire, she wrote that she had a somewhat negative to neutral view of Chauvin. The negative impression likely resulted from constant news stories after Floyd’s death, she said.
“But the neutral side of it was, I’m always thinking about the person, and again where they came from, what they’ve been through,” she said. Referring to Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, she said, “My neutral side of that was, was that his training to do that?”
She said her decision-making would be aided if she heard both sides of the story at trial. However, reminded that Chauvin has no duty to testify, she said she would accept that.
Her professional background came out when she was asked her opinion of Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. “As a social worker, I was trained to respect everyone, no matter what,” she said.
The accountant and his wife recently got a Bernese Mountain puppy. He described himself as an avid sports fan who plays tennis.
He saw about 30 seconds of the bystander video. He said he’d heard about Minneapolis’ civil settlement with Floyd’s family, but didn’t believe it would influence him.
Although he doesn’t like the prospect of jurors’ names eventually being made public, he said, “I understand it’s part of the process.”
On his questionnaire, he cited a somewhat negative view of Chauvin. He wrote that it shouldn’t take four or five police officers to respond to a complaint about a counterfeit bill, and the force seemed excessive.
“I think the duration was a bit unnecessary,” he said in court.
He recounted in court a discussion with coworkers about how they would strive to end racism, and he said he read a book on the subject. Asked what it said, he replied, “It’s been some time. … Nothing’s leaping out at me.”
He mentioned he endorsed Black Lives Matter’s advocacy for equality, however not the group’s techniques. The group would possibly bear a small measure of duty for the rioting after Floyd’s dying, he mentioned.
While voicing help for Blue Lives Matter, he mentioned he doesn’t consider the group has achieved sufficient “to advance the conversation” on equality and gun management.
Responding to a query from the prosecution, he provided a private view on the controversy over athletes who take a knee through the nationwide anthem to protest racial inequality. “I would prefer if someone would express their beliefs in a different manner,” he mentioned.
Contributing: N’dea Yancey-Bragg