The 15-member jury has been selected for the Derek Chavin trial. Jury selection began Monday, March 8. And after 11 days, the panel of 15 –12 jurors, two alternates and an additional alternate—were selected. There are six jurors of color, including three Black men, one Black woman and two mixed-race women with the remaining nine jurors identifying as white.
Potential jurors were residents from Hennepin County. They were first sent a 14-page questionnaire to assess their familiarity with the case. The questionnaire includes a wide range of questions from their media habits to whether or not they have watched the video of George Floyd’s murder.
The jurors were then questioned by the judge and attorneys through a process called “voir dire.” This process assesses each person’s ability to judge fairly and the potential biases they may have, according to the American Bar Association.
A juror may have been dismissed “for cause” if either attorney thought they were biased towards the case and the judge approves the dismissal. Most potential jurors admitted that they had seen either some or all of the viral video in which George Floyd lost his life while Chauvin held his knee on his neck.
Chauvin stands trial for the May 25 murder of George Floyd. On that Memorial Day weekend, Floyd stopped at Cup Foods in South Minneapolis and allegedly attempted to pay for his purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill. The store manager called the police and now former Minneapolis police officers, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng responded to the call.
According to police cam footage, Floyd expressed fear of getting arrested. After he was handcuffed and on the ground, Chauvin arrives to the scene and pins Floyd down with his knee for almost nine minutes.
The other three former officers involved in the murder, Lane, Kueng, and Tou Thao will be tried in a separate case scheduled for trial in August 2020.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is the lead prosecutor as appointed by Governor Tim Walz. Ellison will be in the courtroom, but will not question witnesses. Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank will prosecute the case with Neal Kaytal and two additional attorneys, Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher who are joining the prosecution pro bono.
Insight contributing writer Donna Baeck contributed to this article.