Jury selection begins Monday, March 8 in the trial of Derek Chauvin, 44, the fired Minneapolis police officer charged in the alleged murder of George Floyd, 46. Judge Peter Cahill only allowed audio, not video. Join the Law&Crime Network every day for live coverage 9 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET. We’re available on these platforms.
As seen on footage, the defendant kneeled on the victim’s neck for minutes during a fateful arrest on May 25, 2020, while co-defendants Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were on the man’s back and legs. Floyd, who was handcuffed behind his back, was face down in the street, saying he could not breathe. He called out for his late mother. Angry bystanders demanded Chauvin remove the knee. Floyd became unresponsive. Authorities carried his limp body onto a stretcher.
The question before jurors is whether this constituted second-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors are also fighting to reinstate a count of third-degree murder, after the Minnesota Court of Appeals overruled Cahill, the trial judge.
According to the government’s autopsy, Floyd died from cardiopulmonary arrest suffered while officers restrained him. He did have arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, and there was fentanyl in his system, as well as evidence of recent meth use, authorities said. The medical examiner determined these underlying conditions contributed to his death, but all told, this was a homicide.
Eight potential jurors are scheduled to be called a day, with four each morning, and four each afternoon. Both sides will question them one at a time. As part of the questionnaire, jurors were asked about matters including their knowledge of the case, their impression of the defendants and the victim, if they ever watched video of the fateful incident, and their history with demonstrations that happened after Floyd’s death.
Indeed, the incident tapped into a cultural fissure: the ongoing national debate over how law enforcement treats people of color, especially Black men like him.
Source: Law & Crime Network