Hobbies: Softball, running, watching sports and Netflix with my family, playing guitar, singing, and baking cookies.
Where I Will...
The Derek Chauvin trial: ongoing updates
March 10, 2021
Breaking: The Derek Chauvin trial started March 8th in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the selection of the jury from the result of the death of George Floyd.
Since this is an ongoing trial with the opening statement not scheduled until March 29th, I will be updating this story as the trial goes on.
You can watch the final verdict here:
April 20, 2021:
The jury has reached a final verdict and will be announced Tuesday afternoon between 3:30 and 4:00 pm.
* Second-degree unintentional murder: Guilty
*Third-degree murder: Guilty
*Second-degree manslaughter: Guilty
April 19, 2021: Start of week 4
After three days away from the courtroom, jury members will come together again this Monday morning to hear closing arguments and then start the verdict deliberations. Judge Cahill will go over the laws in this case, and the attorneys will go over their evidence and summarize their witness testimonies. Then, the jurors will go in private to discuss the verdict.
April 13, 2021:
The state has rested its case in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Scott R. Creighton, retired Minneapolis Police Officer
Scott Creighton was the officer who arrested Geroge Floyd on May 6, 2019, about a year before his arrest leading to his death. Judge Cahill told the jury not to take his testimony as character evidence against Floyd, but rather his testimony was to show what happened when Floyd ingested opioids during another arrest. The body camera footage of his 2019 arrest was played during court. The video showed Creighton approaching the car and saying, “Keep your hands on the dash.” Creighton verified that his gun was drawn when he was approaching the car. When asked if Floyd said “Don’t shoot me, I don’t want to get shot,” Creighton confirmed that he said “something like that.”
Michelle Moseng, retired Hennepin County Paramedic:
Michelle Moseng was the paramedic that examined Geroge Floyd following his arrest on May 6, 2019, about a year before his arrest leading to his death. Moseng testified that Floyd did tell her that he took an opioid during his arrest and that he also took several other pills within the hour prior. Moseng stated that Floyd’s blood pressure at that time was 216 over 160, and that is when she urged him to go to the hospital. She also testified that Floyd was able to breathe normally, he was alert, and he was able to walk.
Shawanda Hill, a bystander in the vehicle with Floyd:
Shawanda Hill was in the same vehicle as Geroge Floyd the day of his arrest on May 25, 2020. She testified saying that Floyd was friendly and talkative while inside of Cup Food, but when they got back into the car, he fell asleep. She said that she had to wake him up when the Cup Food workers approached the vehicle about the fake $20 bill and when the police arrived. When asked if Floyd was startled when the police pulled a gun out on him, she responded with, “Very.”
Peter Chang, Minneapolis Park Police Officer:
Peter Chang was the officer who was asked to run Floyd’s name in the squad computer. After, Chang was in charge of watching the two people who were in the car with Floyd. Chang can be heard in the body camera footage talking to the two people in the car, one being Shawanda Hill and the other who is not named as he has invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in the case. Chang told the jury that he can be seen walking around so much in the video because he was concerned for the officers arresting Floyd.
April 12, 2021: Start of week 3
As the 3rd week of the Derek Chauvin trial starts, legal experts speculate that the prosecution will rest its case this week. Last Friday, the jury heard from who was considered a vital witness, Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker. Baker performed the autopsy on Floyd. He ruled Floyd’s cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” When Baker was asked to explain the cause of death, he said that he had an enlarged heart that already needed more oxygen and was limited by partially blocked arteries.
Defense attorney asked for the exclusion of the testimony of Seth Stoughton as he is also another use-of-force expert and they thought that it was “essentially the same analysis” that several other witnesses already walked the jury through.
Dr. Jonathan Rich, Cardiologist:
Dr. Jonathan Rich was called to the stand Monday morning as most likely the last expert witness for the trial. Dr. Rich is a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an associate professor at Northwestern University. Dr. Rich told the jury that he is an expert in heart failure and heart transplants. He stated that as a part of his job, he looks at all the deaths and near-deaths in the cardiac unit at Northwestern to determine what could’ve been done differently in an incident. Rich was going to be paid $1,200 per day to testify at the trial, but he stated that he did not want to accept any more compensation from the state because he believes that it is “his duty” being in the field he is in. When Dr. Jonathan Rich gave his professional opinion on the cause of death to the jury, he stated, “In this case, Mr. Geroge Floyd died from a cardiopulmonary arrest. It was caused by low oxygen levels and those low oxygen levels were induced by the prone restraint and positional asphyxiation that he was subjected to.” Dr. Rich also stated that he ruled out a “primary heart event” or drugs in his analysis.
Defense attorney, Eric Nelson, then started to cross-examine Dr. Rich. He asked Dr. Rich if he would prescribe methamphetamine to someone with a 90% blocked artery. Dr. Rich responded with, “I would never recommend that anybody take methamphetamine off the street for any reason.” Dr. Rich was then also asked by Nelson if he believes Floyd would have survived if he had gotten into the squad car when officers tried to place him there. “Anything other than that scenario he was subjected to, I have no reason to think from a medical perspective that he would not have survived that day, correct,” he said.
It was then confirmed that the state that use-of-force expert, Seth Stoughton, would be called in today to testify.
Philonise Floyd, Geroge Floyd’s brother:
Philonise Floyd is the 39-year-old brother of Geroge Floyd and was called to the stand for a “spark of life” witness. He was to testify about who Geroge Floyd was as a person. “He was so much more of a leader to us in the household,” he said. Philonise said that Geroge always made sure his siblings got to school on time and had a snack for the day. “He just was like a person that everybody loved around the community. He knew how to make people feel better.” When Prosecutor, Steve Schleicher, showed the jury photos of Geroge Floyd with his family and his college basketball team, Philinose talked through each memory. The jury was also shown a photo of George Floyd holding his now 7-year-old daughter. When Philonise was asked about George’s relationship with his mother, he said, “It was one of a kind. He showed us how to treat our mom and how to respect our mom. He just, he loved her so dearly.”
Seth Stoughton, use-of-force expert:
Stoughton said that he has testified as an expert witness approximately 60 times, and he was receiving about $25,000 in compensation from the state for testifying in this case. Stoughton wrote a report of over 100 pages documenting his opinion of Derek Chauvin’s use of force. He said there are two elements to Chauvin’s use of force: the knee on Floyd’s neck, and the prone restraint itself. He said a “reasonable officer” would have realized that Floyd was already in handcuffs and there were already four other officers on the scene. He said it was not necessary to put Floyd in the prone position. He said a reasonable officer would have known the risk factors of the prone position, and of a knee on someone’s neck while they were in that position.
April 5, 2021:
Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis Police Chief:
Medaria Arradondo was on the stand for most of Monday. After reviewing all of the video footage of Floyd’s arrest and death, Arradondo said that he believes Chauvin’s actions violated the Minneapolis Police Department’s policies on de-escalation, use of force, and rendering medical aid to a person in custody. He mentioned that while it is important that police officers get home safe at night, it is also safe that community members get home safe. “It is my firm belief that the one singular incident we will judge forever on, will be our use of force,” he said. Arrandono ended his testimony by saying that Chauvin violated MPD policy. “Of course he’s on trial for murder and manslaughter,” he said. “Not for violating policy.” Due to this, he is now being cross-examined.
Katie Blackwell, Prior Minneapolis Police Department Commander:
Kaite Blackwell was the commander of the MPD until January of this year. She said that she has known Chauvin and worked with him for about 20 years. When shown a picture of Chauvin with his neck on Floyd’s neck, she confirmed that it was not consistent with MPD training. Blackwell also testified that the policy is: a neck restraint is compressing one or both sides of the neck using an arm or leg. But MPD trains officers to use one arm or two arms. “I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is,” she said. “So that’s not what we train.”
Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, ER Doctor:
Dr. Bradford Langenfeld was the ER doctor who treated Geroge Floyd when he arrived at the hospital the day of his arrest. Dr. Bradford informed the jury that he did not receive any information or report that officers had attempted to give Floyd CPR. He also said that the paramedics who brought him to the ER did not mention any sort of potential drug overdose or heart attack. These are the two possible causes of death that are being used in court. Dr. Bradford testified that Floyd’s heart was barely beating when he had arrived at the hospital and that he was PEA (Pulseless Electrical Activity). He said this can suggest hypoxia (where the body or part of the body is deprived of oxygen), or low oxygen. Langenfeld mentioned that he felt that hypoxia was more likely the cause of Floyd’s death than a drug overdose or heart attack. Once Dr. Langenfeld was determined that he could not resuscitate Floyd, he pronounced him dead.
April 2, 2021:
Jon Edwards, Minneapolis Police Sergeant:
Jon Edwards is a Minneapolis Police Sergeant who was working the night of Floyd’s death. He has been serving the Minneapolis Police Department for 14 years. Edwards testified that Sgt. David Pleoger had told him to potentially head to the area of the scene to secure the area while he was at the hospital waiting to hear an update on Geroge Floyd’s condition. Sgt. Edwards arrived at the corner of the incident at around 9:35 pm that night (May 25, 2020) and said that the first thing he did was tell the officers to turn their body cameras on. He then had them place crime scene tape to preserve potential evidence that could still be there. Edwards also testified that he was preparing the scene as if it would become a critical incident as he had very little information about the incident at the time. He also said that he had called in extra officers to search the area for potential witnesses.
Richard Zimmerman, Minneapolis Police Lieutenant:
Richard Zimmerman is the Minneapolis Police Lieutenant for the homicide division in the department. He has had more than three decades of police training and experience and he had at one point described Chauvin’s use of force on Floyd as “totally unnecessary.” Zimmerman said that he responded to the scene after Floyd’s arrest and he eventually handed off the investigation to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He testified about police using the “prone position.” The prone position is when a person is laying on their stomach, which Geroge Floyd is seen doing in the bystander video. Zimmerman said, “Once you handcuff a person, you need to get them out of the prone position as quickly as possible because it restricts their breathing.” Zimmerman also said that according to his police training, officers are taught to turn the person, who is in the prone position, onto their side to get them off their chest. “If you’re laying on your chest, that’s constricting your breathing even more,” he said. Zimmerman also said that in all of his years working in the force, he has never once been taught to put a knee on someone’s neck while they are in that position. “That would be the top tier, the deadly force,” he said, “Because if your knee is on someone’s neck, that can kill them.” Zimmerman said that he has watched both the bystander video and the police body camera videos of Floyd’s arrest and restraint. When asked what he thought of the force used by Chauvin and the length of the force, Zimmerman responded with, “…Totally unnecessary. First of all, pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on the neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger if that’s what they felt. And that’s what they would have to feel to use that type of force.”
April 1, 2021:
Courteney Ross, Geroge Floyd’s girlfriend:
Courteney Ross gave insight into the relationship between her and Geroge Floyd. She openly talked about their shared struggles with opioid addiction. She also talked about the first time she met Floyd in which she was a security guard at the Salvation Army. She talked about his character, his love for food and exercise, his grief after his mom’s death, and his drug use. She said that they tried many times to break their addiction in which they went through many periods of sobriety together. “Addiction in my opinion is a lifelong struggle, so it’s something we dealt with every day,” she said. “It’s not just something that comes and goes, it’s something I’ll deal with forever.”
Seth Zachary Bravinder, Hennepin County paramedic:
Seth Bravinder was a paramedic who responded to the incident when he got there he said he “saw multiple officers on top of the patient.” He said he assumed that there were still some struggles because they were still on top of him. Bravinder also said that Floyd was in “asystole,” which is a severe form of cardiac arrest where the heart is not pumping blood. He explained that this is “not a good sign” for resuscitation. He then went into the resuscitation efforts used on Floyd seen in the bystander video.
Derek Smith, Hennepin County paramedic:
Derek Smith was another paramedic, alongside Bravinder, who responded to the incident. Smith was the first paramedic to assess George Floyd when they first arrived on the scene and when he was asked about Floyd’s condition at that point, he responded with, “In lay terms, I thought he was dead.” He said that he told his partner, “I think he’s dead, and I want to move this out of here.” Smith said that he had checked Floyd’s carotid artery while the officers were still on top of him and he said, “In a living person, there should be a pulse there.” Smith said that he had called the fire department for extra backup and had attempted everything he could to save Geroge Floyd.
Jeremy Norton, Minneapolis Firefighter:
Jeremy Norton is a Minneapolis firefighter who was dispatched to the scene when called by Hennepin County paramedic, Derek Smith. He attempted many lifesaving measures when in the ambulance with Floyd. He told the prosecution that he had reported the incident back to his supervisors because it had seemed that someone died in the custody of the police.
David Pleoger, Minneapolis Police Sergeant:
David Pleoger was the Minneapolis police sergeant who was on duty the day of Geroge Floyd’s arrest and death. He is retired now after servicing the Minneapolis Police Department for 27 years. They called Sgt. Pleoger to the stand to testify about the conversation he had with Derek Chauvin after Floyd’s arrest. During Pleoger’s testimony, the jury had heard for the first time that Chauvin did not give his supervisor details immediately on what force he had used on Floyd or how long he used it for. Pleoger said that he first found out about George Floyd’s arrest when 911 dispatcher, Jena Scurry, had called him that night.
March 31, 2021:
Christopher Martin, Cup Foods Employee:
Christopher Martin was first asked to review the surveillance video from May 25, 2020, the day of Floyd’s death. This was the very first time this video was shown to the public. Martin told the jury about his conversation with Floyd inside the store that he believed he was using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. He said that he notified his manager and his manager told him to confront Floyd outside of the vehicle he was in. He also testified that he tried to cover the cost of the fake bill himself. He told the jury about his coworker’s call to the police and what he witnessed during Floyd’s arrest. He ended his testimony with, “If I had just not taken the bill, this could’ve been avoided.”
Christopher Belfrey, bystander:
Christopher Belfrey is a 45-year-old who was a bystander of the Geroge Floyd incident. He said he was going to Cup Foods to get some food during the incident. Prosecutor, Matthew Frank, showed the jury a video that Belfrey had taken on his phone from his car. Belfrey said he stopped recording after a while because he was “slightly scared” and “nervous” about what might possibly happen. He also stated that he went home after the officers had begun to put Floyd in the squad car and he had assumed the incident was over.
Charles McMillian, neighborhood resident:
Charles McMillian is a 61-year-old male who lives by Cup Foods. He said he had pulled over when he saw the police. McMillian is the bystander who can be heard on the video telling Geroge Floyd that, “You can’t win.” McMillian is the only witness so far who saw almost the entire incident between the officers and Geroge Floyd. McMillian also testified about a conversation he had with Chauvin after Floyd’s death.
To read more about Charles McMillian’s testimony, click here: Charles McMillian testimony
Lieutenant James Jeffery Rugel, Minneapolis Police:
James Jeffery Rugel is a vital witness in the case as he manages the technology systems that the officers use on the job. These include recording management, surveillance video, and body cameras.
To read more about his testimony, click here: Lieutenant James Jeffery Rugel
March 30, 2021:
Opening statements continued today with a bystander, Darnella.
Darnella was a bystander that took one of the most famous videos of Floyd’s death that circulated the world. Darnella was 17 at the time of Floyd’s arrest when she was walking with her 9-year-old cousin to Cup Foods. Upon arriving at Cup Foods, she recalled seeing “a man on the ground and… a cop kneeling down on him.” Darnella also said that she directed her cousin to go into the store so she would not have to see “a man terrified, scared, begging for his life.”
Darnella’s 9-year-old cousin:
When Darnella’s 9-year-old cousin was questioned, she said that she saw Floyd with a knee on his neck, and the officers would not get off of him. She then said that she was, “sad and kind of mad because it felt like he was stopping his breathing and it was kind of like hurting him.”
Unnamed 18-year-old witness:
The 18-year-old witness works at a retail pharmacy. The audio of her identification was muted per Judge Cahill and the video of her testimony was not broadcasted. Only the audio of her testimony was provided. This bystander said she went to Cup Foods to buy an aux cord on the day of Floyd’s arrest, and she witnessed him on the ground with officers. She said she grew more and more concerned as time progressed. She said that she felt like she, “was failing him.” “It was difficult because I felt like there wasn’t really anything that I could do as a bystander.”
Unnamed 17-year-old witness:
This teen started by telling the court that she was in court “for Geroge Floyd.” She arrived with her friend, the unnamed 18-year-old who testified before her, at the scene the day of Floyd’s death. She said that they heard George Floyd’s voice “yelling out for his mom and saying that he can’t breathe.” She also said that she was told by her friend to stay in the car, and while in the car, she could still hear Floyd yelling.
Minneapolis firefighter, Genevieve Hansen:
Genevieve Hansen was off-duty when witnessing Floyd’s arrest. She called 911 after seeing what was going on. Hansen can be seen in a bystander video yelling at the police to check Floyd’s pulse and to give him medical attention. She told the jury that she wanted to help, but the officers would not let her. “There was a man being killed,” she told the jury. “I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities. And this human was denied that right.”
March 29, 2021: Start of Week 1
Today was the opening statements of the Derek Chauvin trial. The first witness was the Minneapolis 911 Dispatcher, Jena Lee Scurry.
Jena Lee Scurry, Minneapolis 911 Dispatcher:
Jena told the jury that she dispatched the call for officers to report to Cup Foods and May 25, 2020. She said that she had described the initial call that a male was suspected of using a counterfeit 20-dollar bill. She also said that at one point during the incident with Geroge Floyd, she realized that she could see a video from a street camera from her office that was showing the scene. She also stated that she did not see the entirety of the arrest as she was dealing with other calls at the same time. She said that she recalled seeing the officers trying to get Floyd in the squad car and then later seeing the officers on the ground with him. She said that her initial instincts were telling her that something was wrong but she had never been told by them that they needed help from other resources. She said, “I became concerned that something might be wrong.” Scurry said that she notified the officers’ supervisor of the use of force and the prosecutor played the call of Scurry and the sergeant. “You can call me a snitch if you want to,” she said. “320 over at Cup Foods, I don’t know if they have use force or not. All of them sat on this man, so I don’t know if they needed to or not.”
Alisha Oyler, shift lead at the Speedway on 38th and Chicago:
Alisha Oyler was the shift lead at the Speedway at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, the intersection where Geroge Floyd died. She worked the night of Floyd’s death and said that she saw the police “messing with someone.” She said that she first saw the officers put Floyd in handcuffs and putting him in the squad car, and that is when she began recording on her cell phone. She provided the police with seven recordings, two of which were inside of the Speedway and the rest were outside.
Donald Wynn Williams II, witness, and professional fighter:
Donald Wynn Williams II is a professional mixed martial arts fighter who had witnessed the death of Geroge Floyd. Williams can be heard on the bystander video of Floyd’s death in which he forcefully was telling the officers to check Floyd’s pulse. After seeing Floyd being taken away via ambulance, she called 911. This call was played in court and it made Williams tear up. He also told the court that he recognized Chauvin’s hold on Floyd as a “blood choke,” which is a move that cuts off blood circulation rather than restricting the airway. He proceeded by saying, “you could see that he was going through tremendous pain.”
March 23, 2021:
Jury selection came to an end late Tuesday morning with the 14th and 15th jurors selected. One potential juror was excused as she said in her questionnaire that she did not want to be apart of the court out of the safety of her family. Another juror was excused because he said he thinks the media influences people’s decisions and he does not like reading the newspaper because he has always struggled with reading. Judge Cahill excused him because they suspected that he would have bias. The opening statements will begin on Monday, March 29.
Juror number 14 (Alternate): A white woman in her 20s who is a social worker. She said as a part of her job she works with mental health patients and earlier in her job, she worked a lot with police officers. However, she does not work with them as much anymore. She said she has worked with drug abusers, but she does not judge people based on that alone. She has heard the settlement for the family of Geroge Floyd but does not know much about it and does not think it will affect her ability to remain impartial. She has seen the bystander video four or five times on the news and her opinion on Dererk Chauvin is somewhat negative to neutral. She said she has heard both good and bad things about George Floyd. She has neutral opinions on both Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter.
Juror number 15 (Temporary alternate): A white man in his 20s who works as an accountant. A Temporary alternate is in case the other jurors do not show up on opening statements. He will be released if everyone shows up. He said that he has heard the settlement for the Geroge Floyd family but believes that it is a separate case and will not affect his ability to remain impartial. He said he only has seen one 30-second clip of the bystander video. He believes that the amount of time Chauvin used force on Floyd was “a bit unnecessary” but he said he will be able to put that aside to form an evidence-based verdict. He thinks that black Americans are treated differently than white Americans because they are “jailed at higher rates.” He supports the move for equality in Black Lives matter but does not support the tactics.
March 22, 2021:
Monday morning it was confirmed that there will be an additional juror chosen in case the court loses one juror for an unforeseen reason. It is unclear at this time if this 15th juror will stay on the panel or be dismissed if they are not needed. The court has 13 jurors right now, and 2 more are now needed to reach 15 instead of 14, the original number sought. Of the 13 jurors seated now, 2 identify as white men, 3 identify as black men, 1 identify as a black woman, 2 identify as multi-racial woman, and 5 identify as white women.
March 19, 2021:
Friday morning, Judge Cahill opened the court session with several major decisions that will impact the Derek Chauvin trial.
1.Chauvin’s trial will not be delayed nor moved to another venue.
2.There is new evidence and testimony of an arrest made on Geroge Floyd on May 6, 2019, very similar to the interaction on May 25, 2020, leading to Floyd’s death.
3.Cahill also ruled that the officer body camera from the 2019 incident will be allowed in the trial from the time that an officer approached the vehicle with a gun drawn to the time that Floyd was out of the vehicle and handcuffed. He said that photos of pills that were in the back seat of Floyd’s vehicle will also be allowed in the trial since drug ingestion could have been combined with a heart condition to play a role in his death.
Juror number 13 (Alternate): A white woman in her 50s. She described herself as an animal lover who is passionate about fair housing and ending homelessness. She explained that her workplace (which was not specified) was destroyed during the civil unrest of the Geroge Floyd death. She said that she does not think that this will make her impartial. She does not like the way the Minneapolis police department has handled homelessness in the city but does not hold any grudge towards the department. She has heard about the settlement made on Friday, March 12, but does not think it will affect her ability to remain impartial. She has seen the bystander video two or three times on the news and says that her assumption, based on the video, is that Derek Chauvin caused Geroge Floyd’s death. She has only seen discrimination as it is shown on the news but she believes police treat black Americans and white Americans equally.
March 18, 2021:
Three more jurors were seated Thursday, bringing the total number of jurors now to 12. Two more jurors are needed to bring the total to 14 (12 jurors, 2 alternates).
Juror number 10: A white woman in her 50s who deals first-hand with COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators. Before this, she worked in cardiac care. She has never worked in an ER, but she has had to resuscitate patients before. When she was asked by the defense if she will be able to remain impartial with her medical training when hearing medical evidence during the trial, her response was, “We all use our life experiences to make judgments.” She also said that the discrimination against black Americans is worse than what the media portrays it as and the justice system does not treat anyone equally. She also said that she “somewhat agrees” with the defunding of the Minneapolis Police Department because, “the police have a job to do and for the most part it gets done, so they need money for that.”
Juror number 11: A black woman in her 60s who is a grandmother. She said that she feels she will be able to handle conflict in a jury room as she feels like she does, “it every day with two grandkids.” Before her retirement, she worked in marketing with a major in child psychology. She knows an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department and also heard about the settlement granted to the Geroge Floyd family. However, she said she will be able to remain impartial. She said that she has no personal experience with the justice system being fair or unfair, but in general, she believes that white and black Americans are treated differently. She said that she supports black lives matter saying, “I am black; my life matters.” She said that he also has a natural opinion about Derek Chauvin because there are always two sides to the story.
Juror number 12: A white woman in her 40s who works in insurance and has a bachelor’s degree in communication. She has not seen the bystander video of Geroge Floyd’s death in his entirety. She said that she believes there is discrimination within the justice system, but that police make her feel safe and she has great respect for them. She said that she has had some friends who have been affected by discrimination because of their race. She said that she has a favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement but she is not involved in it herself. She said that she also has a very favorable view of Blue Lives Matter and that she would be “terrified” if the police department was dismantled. She said that she believes that Geroge Floyd was “involved in drugs” when asked by the defense.
March 17, 2021:
On Wednesday morning, Judge Cahill starting questioning the jurors based on the announcement of the settlement. He asked seven of the jurors who were seated before the announcement of the settlement on Friday, March 12; but did not ask two jurors as they were seated after the announcement and were already questioned. He met with each juror one-by-one via Zoom. He asked each juror if they have been exposed to the coverage of the settlement. Judge Cahill also informed the jurors to completely stay away from all news sources, even regular news not covering the Chauvin trial, because of the prevalence of the news coverage. One of the jurors said that his finance had told him that there was a development of the story and to be “extra vigilant” about avoiding the news. He also informed the judge that he does not think he could be impartial after hearing and knowing about the quantity of the settlement. The Judge then dismissed this man from the jury. Another juror said that the amount of the settlement “shocked me and kind of swayed me a little bit.” When Judge Cahill asked him if he would be able to remain impartial, he was not able to answer confidently. To judge decided to take extra precautions and dismiss the juror. Of the two jurors dismissed, one was a Hispanic male in his 20s, and the other was a white male in his 30s. The other jurors asked this morning either had not heard about the settlement or said that they could remain impartial.
The jury selection then resumed on Wednesday morning after these two jurors were excused. Before the recess, Judge Cahill met with two potential jurors, however, they were excused. One was worried that if he was on the jury, it would affect the job offer that he received after being unemployed from the pandemic. The other had a very negative view on the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD)- Cahill said this juror would not remain impartial.
Two jurors were seated on the jury today, making the total number of jurors back to nine.
Juror number eight: A black immigrant man in his 40s who works in management. This man said that he has seen the bystander video of George Floyd’s death two or three times and has also seen clips on the news. He also said that he “somewhat agrees” that black Americans do not receive equal treatment as white Americans. He holds a “favorable” view on both Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matters and believes all lives matter equally. He also says that if someone doesn’t follow the law, the police officers should still have to follow proper procedures.
Juror number nine: A multiracial woman in her 40s who works in a corporate reorganization. She said she has a “somewhat negative” view of Chauvin and has a neutral opinion about Geroge Floyd because she does not know if Chauvin caused his death. She said she has only seen parts of the bystander video and will be able to put aside what she saw in the video. She also said that she has “strong faith” in the police but also believes that police do not treat black Americans the same based on what she has seen on the news.
March 16, 2021:
On Tuesday, Judge Cahill was concerned about the announcement of the settlement for the Geroge Floyd Family. No new jurors were selected today due to this, however, there are now nine of the jury selections made and five are left to be filled. There needs to be a total roster of 12 jurors with an additional two alternative jurors. Of the nine jurors selected, five identify as white, four identify as people of color, and three are women.
March 15, 2021:
Juror number seven: White woman in her 50s who is a single parent working in the health care field. She said she manages conflict well since she works regularly with patients resolving issues. She said that all lives matter and she has a slightly negative-neutral view on the Black Lives Matter movement. “All lives matter to me, it doesn’t matter who they are or what they are.” She also is able to accept the fact that her view may be different to black Americans because she is white.
March 12, 2021:
The City Council of Minneapolis announced the settlement for the Geroge Floyd family. The Council approved $27 million to the Floyd family, which is the largest settlement in Minneapolis history. The family decided to donate $500,000 of this money to the intersection of 38th St. & Chicago Ave. Furthermore, the Geroge Floyd family attorney, Antonio Romanucci, has challenged every corporation in Minnesota to match the donation of $500,000 to the community at 38th St. & Chicago Ave.
Juror number six: A white woman in her 50s who works in the nonprofit sector. She has an “analytical” mind. She said people are treated differently based on the color of their skin. She somewhat believes in the defunding of the police but also believes there needs to be systemic changes.
March 10, 2021:
Two Hispanic prospective jurors were struck by the defense, which led to state prosecutors to raise a Baston Challenge. The judge did deny the Baston Challenge, saying that the defense had a “race natural” reasoning for choosing these Hispanic jurors, as one of them is in martial arts and can have opinions on certain moves that were used by Derek Chauvin.
1.One prospective juror is a mother of three originally from Mexico. She works in a maternity ward and while filling out the questionnaire, she said she has seen some of the Geoge Floyd incident on the television and said that Chauvin’s actions were “not fair because we are humans.”
2. Another prospective juror is also a Hispanic man originally from Southern California who does martial arts jiujitsu and muay Thai.
Juror number five: A black man in his 30s who came to the United States 14 years ago. He works in IT and manages several people at work. He moved to Minnesota in 2012 and is married with no children. He has discussed the Geroge Floyd death with his wife and friends and said, “it could have been me or anyone else.” He said that all lives matter but he believes Black Lives Matter more because they are marginalized. He does not support the defunding of the police because police are needed to make the community safe.
March 9, 2021:
The judge ruled on what witnesses and lawyers can tell jurors before jury selection started, which included:
* The judge first ruled that any witness police officers cannot testify to “what they would have done differently” if they were in Chauvin’s place making the arrest. However, the judge said that this does not limit experts and training officers to testify whether or not it was an appropriate use of force according to their training protocols.
* The judge also ruled that a Minneapolis firefighter, who was on the scene, can testify to solely what she saw occur but cannot testify to “she could have saved Floyd’s life if she had intervened.”
*The judge lastly ruled that prosecutors can tell jurors the dates of Chauvin’s employment with the Minneapolis Police Department, but they cannot say that he was “terminated.”
The court came together early this morning to run through the remaining motions before starting the jury selection again. The defense and prosecution team found more than a dozen potential jury members and asked them to report to the courthouse at 8:30 Central Time (CT) with the jury selection expected to begin at 9:00 CT. An Appeals Court still has yet to decide if the jury selection should be put on hold until the Supreme Court reviews the third-degree murder charge, however, three of the jurors were selected today:
Juror number one: A white man in his 20s who is a chemist who is an “advocate of community policing,” and he also believes that all lives matter equally. He has not seen the video of Geroge Floyd’s death.
Juror number two: A multiracial woman in her 20s who said that her uncle is a police officer and that she has seen the video of George Floyd’s death once. She also said that she was “super excited” to be called for jury duty.
Juror number three: A white man in his 30s who works in client services. He told the court that he was friends with a Minneapolis police officer but had a negative perception of the blue lives matter movement. He said he has seen the video of George Floyd’s death multiple times.
Derek Chauvin did appear in court seated by his legal attorney.
March 8, 2021:
The day was supposed to begin with the selection of the jury. However, the morning was actually filled with debate over whether or not it was too premature to pick the jury before knowing if Chauvin will face an additional charge of third-degree murder. As a result of the uncertainty, Judge Peter Cahill sent home the potential jurors. The judge stated that he plans on moving forward with the jury selection on Tuesday, March 9th unless the Appeals Court steps in.
Chauvin’s charges as a result of the Geroge Floyd death:
* Second-degree murder
* Second-degree manslaughter
* Possible third-degree murder
In preparation for the Derek Chauvin trial, many Minneapolis businesses boarded up in case of unrest in the city. The Hennepin
County Government Center is also all boarded up with fencing, concrete barriers, and barbed wire. The city of Minneapolis as a whole has been taking extra security measures within the last month to ensure safety amongst the entire city. Minneapolis has closed streets and deployed National Guard troops and other law enforcement officers. John Harringong, who is Minnesota’s public safely commissioner said this set up is “designed to prevent bad things from happening and to respond if they do.”
Message from Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey:
Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, says that safety is the number one priority “during this very difficult time in our city.” He also said that trauma is most likely to increase for many, especially since the verdict is drawing near. He says that he wants to keep the city safe for all citizens and that he wants families to feel safe in their own homes.
Frey also said, “There is no place for gamesmanship or politics over the next couple of months in ensuring the city of Minneapolis is safe.”