Opening Statements In Derek Chauvin Trial Begin Monday
Jury selection was completed Tuesday (March 23) in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd last May, with the 15th being selected by prosecution and defense lawyers.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a white man in his 20s was the final juror selected after a relatively brief round of questioning that occurred Tuesday morning. Selection took 11 days. Proceedings in the trial are now recessed until Monday when attorneys will present opening statements.
The newest juror will be dismissed at the outset Monday unless another juror drops out prior to that time.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with causing Floyd’s death by asphyxiating him when he knelt on his neck in an attempt to apprehend him. He had exited a store when a clerk accused him of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Three other officers who arrived at the scene were also charged.
Among the responses to questions the final juror was asked was that he understands why athletes kneel during the national anthem, but he said he wishes they would do so in a different manner.
“I think it’s more of a respect of those that have come before us and the system that we have in the United States,” he said. “I have a great sense of pride in being a United States citizen.”
The Star Tribune reports he also said he has a neutral opinion of Floyd and a generally favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement, but he believes it was “a contributing factor” in the violent unrest that followed Floyd’s death last summer.
The final jury makeup includes six people of color and nine white people. Nine of the jurors are women and six are men.
The judge will keep 14 jurors, including two alternates. Before deliberations, the remaining alternates will be dismissed.
After that, 12 jurors will go into sequestration to deliberate convicting or acquiring Chauvin, who stands charged with second-degree and third-degree murder, and manslaughter. If he is convicted of the most serious charge, he faces 10 ½ to 15 years in prison under sentencing guidelines.
The other three defendants, former Minneapolis officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, eached charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter, is scheduled for August.