Jury selection in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin moved closer to completion on Friday with the addition of a new juror, bringing the number of seated members to 13.
A demographic breakdown provided by Spenser Bickett, Hennepin County District Court’s communication specialist, to Newsweek shows five men and seven women, ranging in age from the 20s to 60s, selected to serve on the jury in the Minneapolis trial. Seven jurors self-identified as white, four as Black and two as mixed race.
The newest juror is a white woman in her 50s, according to Bickett, and her addition leaves just one seat unfilled. Presiding Judge Peter A. Cahill previously said he would seek at least two and up to four alternates for the jury.
Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter for allegedly placing his knee on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, while Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” before dying. A viral video of the incident sparked international outrage and months of Black Lives Matter protests.
“With Derek Chauvin’s murder trial underway, we need to understand that bigotry, white supremacy, and complacency are also on trial,” Patrisse Cullors, co-founder and executive director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, said in a statement on Friday.
“We all bore witness to the horrific events that led to the murder of George Floyd via the video that swept through the nation. We will never forget those eight minutes and forty-six seconds.”
The visibility of Floyd’s death has put Chauvin’s trial onto the world stage. Jury selection, which commenced on March 9, hit a snag on Wednesday after the announcement of a $27 million settlement between the city of Minneapolis and Floyd’s survivors, which resulted in the dismissal of two jurors who were found to have been affected by news of the settlement after several hours of probing by Cahill earlier this week.
“I’ve asked Minneapolis to stop talking about it. They keep talking about it, we keep talking about it. Everybody just stop talking about it,” Cahill said at the end of jury selection Thursday regarding the settlement.
Cahill said that proceedings most likely would begin March 29 and take four weeks to complete.
All jurors currently seated are Hennepin County residents and were asked to complete a 16-page questionnaire regarding their views on the defendant, Black Lives Matter, the police, and other potential areas of interference in their ability to deliver an impartial verdict.
The seated jurors expressed mostly centrist opinions in the questionnaires, which have not been publicly released but were referenced in court. Jurors are sworn in individually and questioned by defense attorney Eric Nelson and prosecutor Steve Schleicher.
To protect their identities, jurors’ personal information is kept private and they do not appear on camera in the live-streamed courtroom.
This is what is known about the individuals chosen so far to decide the outcome of the high-profile case:
The newest juror, the white woman in her 50s added Friday morning, said she is passionate about homelessness and affordable housing.
The first juror sworn in is a white man in his 20s who works as a chemist and formerly as a camp counselor. He told the court he has an “analytical mind.”
The second juror, a woman in her 20s who identified as mixed race, according to information provided by Brickett, told the court she was looking forward to the trial and felt “excited.”
The next person sworn in is a white man in his 30s who said he is employed as an auditor.
The fourth juror, a Black man in his 30s who works in information technology, said he held a “somewhat negative” opinion of the defendant but supports the police.
A white woman in her 50s was the fifth juror sworn in, and she also reported that her opinion of the defendant leaned toward negative. She went on to add that she feels sympathy for both the police and Floyd and feels “the intention was not there for this to happen.”
The sixth juror is a Black man in his 30s who strongly supports Black Lives Matter but also agreed that Chauvin had “no intention” of causing harm.
The seventh juror is a white woman in her 50s who stated she holds a “somewhat negative” opinion of the defendant. According to the court, the eighth juror is a Black man in his 40s.
The ninth juror is a mixed-race woman in her 40s who also called her opinion of the defendant “somewhat negative” but said she feels safe with the police where she lives.
The 10th juror, a white woman in her 50s, works as a nurse and told the court that her medical knowledge would not interfere in her ability to objectively determine what caused Floyd’s death.
Juror 11 is a Black woman in her 60s who has a family member in the Minneapolis Police Department and acknowledged that Black people are not always treated fairly by the criminal justice system.
The 12th juror is a white woman in her 40s who said she works in commercial business insurance and has known someone who abused alcohol and might view someone with addiction issues “cautiously” due to the possibility of violent or aggressive behavior.