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.
Jury selection is proceeding despite uncertainty over whether a third-degree murder charge will be added.
The state has asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to stop proceedings until that’s resolved, which could mean a delay of weeks or months.
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.
Challenges in jury selection
Some of the jurors who were dismissed said they would not be able to set aside their views on what happened.
One woman who was dismissed said: “I definitely have strong opinions about the case. I think I can try to be impartial — I don’t know that I can promise impartiality.”
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.