The trial comes nearly 10 months after George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis man, died on May 25 in police custody; video footage that went viral on social media showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes before his death. Chauvin was later charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter.
The panel will include nine white jurors, including the three alternates who will only participate if necessary, and six Black or multiracial jurors. There are six men and nine women in total. The judge has ordered their names to be withheld until the trial concludes.
Attorneys asked jurors about whether the protests following Floyd’s death had a negative or positive impact on their communities; whether they support defunding the Minneapolis Police Department; their views of Black Lives Matter; and their opinions of both Floyd and Chauvin.
Attorneys also asked jurors before they were if they could set aside outside influences and decide the case only on evidence presented at trial. They all assured the court that they could.
Juror No. 2
Juror No. 2 is a 20-something-year-old white male who works as a chemist and is the only panelist who said he has never seen video footage of Floyd’s arrest.
The juror and his fiancee have visited George Floyd Square because Floyd’s arrest was such a “transformative event for that area.”
Juror No. 9
Juror No. 9 is a multiracial woman in her 20s whose uncle works as a police officer in northern Minnesota. She said she was “super excited” to get her jury notice and has a “somewhat negative” view of Chauvin after watching footage of Floyd’s arrest, though there could be other explanations for the former officer’s actions.
She described the video as “sad,” saying, “Nobody wants to see somebody die, whether it was his fault or not.”
Juror No. 19
Juror No. 19 is a Black man in his 30s who works as an auditor and has a friend who is a K9 officer with the Minneapolis Police Department.
The panelist supports Black Lives Matter but disagrees with some of their actions and has a critical view of Blue Lives Matter.
He also noted that he heard Floyd had drugs in his system during his arrest but added that “the influence of drugs doesn’t determine whether you should be living or dead.”
Juror No. 27
Juror No. 27, a 30-something-year-old Black man who immigrated to America more than 14 years ago and works in IT, said he talked with his wife about the case.
“We talked about how it could have been me, or anyone else,” he said.
Juror No. 44
Juror No. 44 is a white woman in her 50s, who is a single mom with two teenaged boys and works as an executive for a health care advocacy nonprofit.
She said she has been exposed to a lot of media around Floyd’s death but described the media as biased and said she has a somewhat negative view of Chauvin, a neutral opinion of Floyd and empathy for both men.
“Not all police are bad,” she said. “I don’t want them terrorized or disrespected. But bad police need to go.”
Juror No. 52
Juror No. 52 is a 30-something-year-old Black man working as a banker who expressed neutral opinions of both Chauvin and Floyd, as well as a very favorable view of Black Lives Matter.
He has only seen clips of the bystander video and has spoken with friends and family about why the other officers present during Floyd’s arrest didn’t “stop Chauvin.”
“I don’t know if he was doing something wrong or not, but somebody died,” he said. “… Even if you have no intention of doing something and something happens, somebody could’ve still intervened and prevented that.”
Juror No. 55
Juror No. 55 is a single mother in her 50s with two children and works as an executive assistant at a health clinic.
She said she was “disturbed” by video footage of Floyd’s arrest and has an unfavorable view of Chauvin but expressed an unfavorable view of Black Lives Matter: “All lives matter to me. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they are.”
Juror No. 79
Juror No. 79 is a Black father in his 40s who immigrated to the U.S. about 20 years ago.
Law enforcement responded appropriately to a burglary at his home once, and he expressed trust in the police but said it is fair to assess the Chauvin case: “I would say it’s another pair of eyes and a new mind just looking at the action.”
Juror No. 85
Juror No. 85 is a married mother in her 40s who works as a consultant.
She expressed a strong faith in police and a neutral view of Floyd, who she said she understood died “as a result of this encounter” but added that she “never heard what a cause of death was.”
She also said that those who do not cooperate with police may have themselves to blame for consequences: “You respect police, and you do what they ask.”
Juror No. 89
Juror No. 89 is a 50-something-year-old white woman who works as a nurse — lately working directly with COVID-19 patients.
The woman said she would draw from her knowledge and experience as a nurse to make determinations about medical testimony but would refrain from using that knowledge in the courtroom.
Juror No. 91
Juror No. 91 is a Black grandmother of two in her 60s who studied child psychology and worked in marketing.
The panelist, who grew up not far from the scene of Floyd’s arrest, said she only made it through about four or five minutes of the bystander video because it “just wasn’t something that [she] needed to see.”
She has a favorable view of Black Lives Matter but is not familiar with the organization.
Juror No. 92
Juror No. 92 is a 40-something-year-old White woman who works in commercial insurance.
She has experience with someone who struggled with alcohol and expressed concern that someone under the influence of substances might act aggressively but added that police should not treat people poorly just because they appear to be on drugs.
“If someone uses drugs, I don’t think there should be ramifications of violence for that,” she said.
Juror No. 96
Juror No. 96 is a white woman in her 50s who worked in customer service but is currently in between jobs and does volunteer work serving the homeless.
She said she has witnessed police treat minorities worse than white people but that people should not fear police if they cooperate.
“If you’re not listening to what the commands are, obviously something else needs to happen to resolve the situation,” she said. “I don’t know how far the steps need to go.”
Juror No. 118
Juror No. 118 is a 20-something-year-old white woman who has been a social worker for five years.
She said she has discussed police reform with others and thinks “there are things that should be changed” but added that police are important to society, and she is “always looking at every side of things.”
Juror No. 131
Juror No. 131 is a married accountant in his 20s who expressed an initial unfavorable view of Chauvin based on the bystander video.
After Floyd’s death sparked discussions about racism at work, and he decided to read a book about the subject.
He expressed a somewhat favorable view of both police and Black Lives Matter. On the topic of Black athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism, he said he would “prefer” if they “would express their beliefs in a different manner.”
The jurors will likely face unique pressure as they hear arguments from both sides in a case that sparked nationwide protests throughout the summer of 2020 and prompted new discussions about race and police brutality in the U.S.
Some community members have concerns that the results of Chauvin’s trial could potentially lead to more destruction to Minneapolis on top of what it endured last summer.
The court excused one potential juror from participating after she told attorneys during selection that she feared for her family’s safety if chosen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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