Patterns Emerge In Jury Screening For Trial Of Ex-Cop Charged In George Floyd's Death

Written by on March 14, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The primary week of jury choice within the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s demise established patterns for a way attorneys go about dismissing potential jurors they understand as unfavorable to their facet.

The protection is hanging individuals who inform the courtroom they have already got sturdy emotions about Derek Chauvin’s guilt. The prosecution, in the meantime, is obstructing potential jurors who appear inclined to provide police the advantage of the doubt — or who categorical misgivings in regards to the Black Lives Matter motion.

Although their targets are predictable, there’s an artwork to how each side carry it out. Attorneys have sought of their questioning to unearth biases towards their case by members of the jury pool, prompting Choose Peter Cahill to dismiss them and saving treasured and restricted strikes.

They’re not all the time profitable.

One candidate wrote in his questionnaire that he had a “very damaging” notion of Chauvin after watching the extensively seen video of Floyd’s arrest. When requested to clarify, he mentioned he felt that Floyd was handled “worse than an enemy combatant.”

“It jogged my memory of like a conflict scene,” he mentioned. “What popped into my thoughts was pictures of World Struggle Two.”

The person additionally mentioned that he would have problem with the presumption of innocence on this case, and primarily based on the video he noticed, it might be laborious for him to acquit Chauvin. But, regardless of his sturdy feelings and statements, when protection legal professional Eric Nelson repeatedly requested if the person might abandon his opinions and resolve the case impartially primarily based on what is alleged in courtroom, the person mentioned, “Sure” – thwarting Nelson’s makes an attempt to have the choose dismiss the juror for trigger. “If I couldn’t think about myself saying ‘not responsible,’ I wouldn’t be right here,” the person mentioned.

Nelson was pressured to make use of a peremptory strike to maintain him off the jury. He will get 15 such challenges which may be used with out giving a purpose — so long as it’s not solely as a result of an individual’s race. The prosecution will get 9.

The protection legal professional had to make use of one other to strike a person who knew many particulars in regards to the case from a number of information sources and expressed sturdy opinions about Floyd’s demise in his questionnaire. The person additionally spoke positively in regards to the protests that adopted, saying they solidified the necessity for change and to finish systemic racism.

Nelson famous that the person had posted on Fb that he visited 38th and Chicago — the location of the deadly confrontation, which has been became a memorial — and he known as it “holy floor.” Nonetheless, just like the juror earlier than him, the person stored saying affirmatively that he might set all his opinions apart and weigh the proof pretty, forcing Nelson to make use of one other peremptory strike.

Thus far, many of the rejected jurors have been individuals with damaging views of Chauvin. However some have been struck for tilting towards police, or for being skeptical of the Black Lives Matter motion.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 26: A large black and white mural of George Floyds face stands tall on the sidewalk outside of Cup Foo

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 26: A big black and white mural of George Floyds face stands tall on the sidewalk outdoors of Cup Meals close to the place Floyd was killed on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Minneapolis, MN. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Instances through Getty Photographs)

Underneath questioning from prosecutor Steve Schleicher, one man mentioned he had a “considerably unfavorable” view of Black Lives Matter. He mentioned he thought the motion has “good intentions however has been concerned in an excessive amount of destruction in our metropolis,” and was disapproving of “BLM” graffiti throughout town.

It’s “laborious to not see these letters,” he mentioned. He additionally mentioned he has sturdy respect for regulation enforcement and strongly disagrees with the notion of defunding the police, a motion that gained foreign money after Floyd died.

Schleicher used certainly one of his strikes to dismiss the person.

By day’s finish Friday, the protection had used eight peremptory strikes in contrast with 5 for the prosecution.

Seven jurors had been seated within the opening week. 4 had been white, one was multiracial, one was Hispanic and one was Black, based on the choose. The courtroom has two extra weeks of jury choice blocked out earlier than opening arguments scheduled for March 29.

A number of jurors have been dismissed for trigger. About two dozen within the pool had been so problematic simply from the solutions they gave on their questionnaires that the attorneys from each side agreed they need to be struck with out even going through questioning.

For these potential jurors who’ve come to the courthouse underneath safety escort by way of the fences, barbed wire and razor wire, some have been excused for trigger due to private hardships.

However most of these dismissed for trigger had unshakable views.

Cahill dismissed one lady for trigger after she mentioned outright that she couldn’t be an neutral juror. The lady mentioned Floyd’s demise has affected her life, prompting her to volunteer at a nonprofit group that helps underserved and weak kids. The choose and prosecution pressed her briefly to verify she wouldn’t change her thoughts.

“You don’t suppose that you can give the defendant a good trial?” Schleicher requested.

“I don’t suppose I can,” she replied.

Watch Friday’s jury choice proceedings under:


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