The long process of jury selection for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death began Tuesday with three jurors picked and six others in the pool dismissed.
Police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, then a Minneapolis Police officer, placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes while Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” His final moments were captured on video, and his death led to widespread protests against police brutality and racism under the banner Black Lives Matter as well as incidents of unrest and looting.
Floyd’s death sparked sometimes violent protests in Minneapolis and beyond, leading to a nationwide reckoning on race.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. In addition, a charge of third-degree murder that was dismissed in October is now in limbo after an appeals court ruled the trial judge should reconsider a motion to reinstate it, which could lead to a delay in the start of the trial.
Some of the jurors who were dismissed said they would not be able to set aside their views on what happened.
The three jurors who were selected — two men and one woman — all said they had heard some details about the case against Derek Chauvin but would be able to put aside what they heard or opinions they had formed and make a decision based on evidence in court.
One of the selected jurors said he hadn’t seen the widely-viewed bystander video of Floyd’s arrest at all, while the others described seeing it minimally.
One woman who saw the video said she doesn’t understand why Chauvin didn’t get up when Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.
“That’s not fair because we are humans, you know?” she said. She too was dismissed.
The exchanges between potential jurors, attorneys and the judge illustrate the challenges in seating a jury in such a well-known case.
Jury selection will last for at least three weeks. Opening statements are scheduled no sooner than March 29.
Court was scheduled to resume with a motions hearing at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday. Jury selection continues at 10 a.m. ET.