Jury selection in the trial of the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd started Monday with protesters, speeches, and his sister noisily marching outside the courthouse while calling for justice.
Some of the people being considered for jury service in the trial of Derek Chauvin said that they were worried for their lives and the safety of their families if selected to serve on the jury.
Their fear is entirely understandable.
Floyd’s death led to nearly $2 billion in losses from arsons, looting, rioting, and mayhem. Nineteen people were shot.
Multiple buildings are now on fire in the vicinity of the #ThirdPrecinct in #Minneapolis. The city of Minneapolis urges people to leave the area as there may be explosive materials inside the precinct. #minneapolisriots #Minneapolisprotests pic.twitter.com/Bsq4Txw6Ri
— sudhakar (@naidusudhakar) May 29, 2020
Jurors are concerned about violence in the wake of an entirely possible not guilty verdict in the case.
One was anxious, worried about high emotion surrounding the case. One worried his family might be targeted. And one was delighted to receive her jury summons — even after learning she might wind up on the panel considering whether to convict a former police officer in George Floyd’s death.
[…] “I definitely have strong opinions about the case,” one woman said. “I think I can try to be impartial — I don’t know that I can promise impartiality.”
She was dismissed. So was another woman, who said she didn’t understand why Chauvin didn’t get up when Floyd — in a widely seen bystander video that showed Chauvin with his knee pressed on Floyd’s neck — kept saying he couldn’t breathe.
“That’s not fair because we are humans, you know?” she said.
Floyd was high on fentanyl, pot, and other drugs when he died in police custody. He also tested positive for COVID. Chauvin, recorded with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, had, along with other officers, subdued the combative Floyd with flex cuffs. The knee/neck hold was in the Minneapolis Police manual.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional homicide and second-degree manslaughter. Another charge, depraved indifference, which was already tossed out by the trial judge, is under appeal as the proceedings advance. For that reason alone, prosecutors wanted the trial halted, fearing it could become an appealable issue. The trial continued, however, after a brief delay on Monday.
With jurors fearing for their safety and Minneapolis already boarding up the areas near the courthouse in the riot zone in anticipation of a not guilty verdict, you might be wondering why there was no change of venue.
In November, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled against a change of venue “Because of … pervasive media coverage, a change of venue is unlikely to cure the taint of potentially prejudicial pretrial publicity.”
— Mercury Chronicle 🇺🇸 (@MercuryReports) May 29, 2020
Instead, Cahill finds himself with some, though not all, jurors who are fearful that their families would be doxxed, hurt, or worse by the same violent thugs who burned down the Third Police Precinct, a Target Store, and shot 19 people in the riots that followed Floyd’s death.
Victoria Taft is the host of “The Adult in the Room Podcast With Victoria Taft” where you can hear her series on “Antifa Versus Mike Strickland.” Find it here. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, MeWe, Minds @VictoriaTaft