Jury selection for the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd continues Thursday with five jurors already seated, the Associated Press reported.
Five jurors were selected in two days, though the process was scheduled to take at least three weeks, the AP reported. The attorneys focused on potential jurors’ opinions of police to see if they would take sides between law enforcement or witness testimony.
Former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May 2020, video shows. Nationwide protests followed Floyd’s death and in some instances turned into violence and looting.
Chauvin faces charges of second and third-degree murder and manslaughter after a judge ruled to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against him on Thursday, the AP reported.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill previously rejected the third-degree murder charge for cause, though an appellate court established grounds for Chauvin to be tried under the charge.
Court resumed now with Schleicher questioning Juror #27 about his opinions on drug use.
Juror #27, according to the pool reporter in the courtroom, is a black male in his 30s or 40s. He came to the United States 14 years ago.
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) March 10, 2021
The first juror selected, who grew up in central Minnesota, said he has a “very favorable” opinion of Black Lives Matter and a “somewhat unfavorable” view towards Blue Lives Matter, the AP reported. He said that there are bad police officers though “somewhat agreed” that law enforcement officers aren’t respected as much as they deserve.
“Are there good ones? Yes. So I don’t think it’s right to completely blame the entire organization,” the first juror told the court, the AP reported. He added he would likely trust an officer over a witness, though he would evaluate witnesses individually.
The second juror selected said he “strongly” agrees that a police presence in his community makes him feel safe, the AP reported. The man reportedly “strongly” disagreed with the movement to defund the police following Floyd’s death, prosecutor Steve Schleicher said, the AP reported.
“In my community, I think when there is suspicious activity the police will stop by, they will ask a question,” the second juror said, the AP reported. “I think that sense of community is all we want right? We want to live in a community where we feel safe regardless of race, color and gender.”
Jurors’ identities are being withheld and their answers to the questionnaires asking about their knowledge of the case and personal interactions with law enforcement are not public information, the AP reported.
Three other former officers involved in Floyd’s death were charged with aiding and abetting are scheduled for trial in August, the AP reported.