Minneapolis, MN — Jury selection began in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. On Tuesday, March 9, nine potential jurors were questioned at length about their knowledge of the high-profile case—and whether they could set aside any opinions to serve as an impartial juror. Several prospective jurors expressed fear, including concerns for their family, if their identity became known. By the end of the day, several potential jurors were eliminated by both the state and defense, and three jurors had been seated.
Potential juror #8, an Air Force veteran and grandfather who said he would judge the George Floyd case based on the facts, was the prosecutors’ first preemptory strike. And the first juror seated was a chemist who said he was an “advocate of community policing” and believes “all lives matter equally.” He said he has not seen the video of Floyd’s death.
The second juror is a woman who said her uncle is a police officer and that she had watched the video of Floyd’s death once. She said she was “super excited” to be called for jury duty. The third juror told the court he was friends with a Minneapolis Police officer and supports Black Lives Matter—but does not agree wit some of their practices. He said that he had a negative perception of the Blue Lives Matter movement.
Based on the jurors’ fears, the idea of forming an impartial jury seems questionable at best, especially amid fears of rioting and personal safety—aside from all of the manipulation of facts about the case in mainstream news and social media.