Jury selection has concluded in the Derek Chauvin trial. On Tuesday the court selected a 15th and final juror – a white male accountant in his 20s. The juror expressed strong support for police, yet he questioned the behavior of the officers charged with George Floyd’s murder. Defense attorney Eric Nelson read from the juror’s questionnaire:
“You wrote ‘While I do not have all the facts of the case, it seems like it would not have taken 4-5 officers to respond to a call regarding a counterfeit bill and that the restraint of George Floyd for 5-10 minutes might have been unnecessary,” said Nelson. This case marks the first time in Minnesota history that cameras are being allowed into a courtroom from start to finish, allowing viewers an unprecedented view into a criminal trial.
Racial Reckoning reporter Georgia Fort was in the courtroom Tuesday. She says entering the courthouse was like going through airport security – a pleasant but sometimes tense, heavily guarded process that one juror described as “intimidating.” Fort says the security can make some jurors feel safe. For black and brown people with negative experiences with law enforcement, it could have the opposite effect.
Fort says at times she found being the only black person in the room challenging. One juror was excused after making several comments that were dismissive of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.
“That was a tense moment for me as a Black person – profession aside,” said Fort. “I just had to have a moment where I stopped taking notes and I looked around and everybody just kept doing what they were doing like it didn’t impact them, but that was hard for me to hear that that was someone’s true understanding of what happened.”
Now that jury selection is over, the trial is on recess until Monday, March 29 when the prosecution and the defense will make opening statements.
Feven Gerezgiher reporting for the Racial Reckoning project