MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The attorney for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd‘s death on Friday dismissed another potential jury member after she acknowledged having a negative view of the defendant.
The woman, a recent college graduate, said she had seen bystander video of Floyd’s arrest and closely read news coverage of the case. In response to a jury pool questionnaire, she said she had a “somewhat negative” view of the officer, Derek Chauvin, and that she thought he held his knee to Floyd’s neck for too long.
“I could only watch part of the video, and from what I saw as a human, I, that did not give me a good impression,” she said. She said she did not watch the bystander video in its entirety because “I just couldn’t watch it anymore.”
The woman repeatedly said she could put aside her opinions and decide the case on the facts, but Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson nonetheless used one of his 15 challenges to dismiss her.
With jury selection in its fourth day, six people have been seated — five men and one woman. Three of those seated are White, one is multiracial, one is Hispanic and one is Black, according to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.
Cahill has set aside three weeks for jury selection, with opening statements no sooner than March 29.
Floyd was declared dead on May 25 after Chauvin, who is White, pressed his knee against the Black man’s neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s death sparked sometimes violent protests in Minneapolis and beyond, leading to a nationwide reckoning on race.
Friday’s quick dismissal echoed others earlier in the case for similar reasons. On Thursday, one woman was dismissed after she said she “can’t unsee the video” of Chauvin pinning Floyd.
Nelson pressed the woman hard on whether she could be fair despite her strong opinions.
Asked how the events of last summer had affected the community, she replied: “Negatively affected because a life was taken. Positively because a movement has come from it and the whole world knows.” Asked about the property damage during the unrest, she said, “I felt that was what needed to happen to bring this to the world’s attention.”
“Looking in your heart and looking in your mind can you assure us you can set all of that aside, all of that, and focus only on the evidence that is presented in this courtroom?” Nelson asked.
“I can assure you, but like you mentioned earlier, the video is going to be a big part of the evidence and there’s no changing my mind about that,” she replied.
Potential jurors’ identities are being protected and they are not shown on livestreamed video of the proceedings.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired. The others face an August trial on aiding and abetting charges. The defense hasn’t said whether Chauvin will testify in his own defense.
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