Jury selection was completed Tuesday, March 23, after two weeks of questioning and the dismissal of two previously selected jurors. The court determined the two dismissed jurors could not remain impartial after the city of Minneapolis announced its record-setting $27M civil settlement with the family of George Floyd.
The Chauvin trial is being broadcast around the world via a livestream inside the courtroom, but the jurors will never appear on screen and will remain anonymous. They are referred to in court and below by their juror number. Through the jury selection process, in which Judge Peter Cahill and attorneys from both sides questioned potential jurors, we have gathered information on those who were selected for the jury: their ages, marital status and occupations, as well as how they feel about Black Lives Matter, police in general and the presumption of innocence.
Three alternates were initially seated for the jury, but one of the three was dismissed once opening statements began on March 29. On April 19, following the end of closing arguments, two more jurors were dismissed as alternates: one white woman in her 50s and one white woman in her 20s.
In its final form, the jury includes a multi-race woman in her 20s, a multi-race woman in her 40s, two Black men in their 30s, a Black man in his 40s, a Black woman in her 60s, three white women in their 50s, a white woman in her 40s, a white man in his 30s and a white man in his 20s.
Here, in more detail, are the jurors who will decide the trial of Derek Chauvin:
A white man in his 20s. He's from Minneapolis and works as a chemist. Because of his profession, he said, "I consider myself a pretty logical person…I rely on facts and logic and what's in front of me. Opinion and facts are important distinctions for me." He said he has a generally favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement but added that "I think all lives matter equally" and that the "Blue Lives Matter" message among police advocates is a counter viewpoint that isn't necessary. When selected for the jury, he said he had not viewed the bystander video of George Floyd's death. He has visited 38thand Chicago where Floyd was killed, as he and his fiancée were considering moving to the area.
A multi-race woman in her 20s. She is originally from northern Minnesota and said she was "super excited" to receive her jury summons because she believes it's her civic duty. She said she was eager to serve regardless of the case, but especially in Chauvin's trial, given the gravity of it. "It's a very important case, not just for Hennepin County…but nationwide," she said. "It's just something everyone's heard about, talked about…No matter the decision, people are still going to talk about it." She said viewing the video of Floyd's death before the trial left her with a "somewhat negative" impression of Chauvin. "No one wants to see someone die," she said. The woman also said she sees racial disparity in the justice system. In connection with that belief, she added that she agrees somewhat that Minneapolis police officers at times use too much force against Black suspects. She considers herself a "go with the flow" type, and assured that she can be open minded about the evidence. She is the niece of a Brainerd police officer.
A white man in his 30s. He works as an auditor and was chosen for the jury after expressing confidence that he could be fair. He served in a jury five years ago and was dismissed as an alternate. "I was slightly disappointed after hearing the process," he said. "…I think it's an important part of our society." Before the trial began, he said he had seen at least portions of the video of Floyd's death and had a somewhat negative view of Chauvin because "someone died, and that's obviously not a positive thing." At the same time, the man continued, he said he can examine the evidence "from a viewpoint of the law" before deciding whether or not the defendant is guilty.
A Black man in his 30s. He immigrated to the United States 14 years ago and went to school in Nebraska and moved to Minnesota in 2012. He works in information technology and lives with his wife and dog. He speaks multiple languages, including French. Learning that he was in the jury pool made him "surprised and anxious," but he realizes it's his civic duty. While relating to Floyd's death and thinking "it could be anybody, it could have been you," he also said, "I believe that I will be impartial." He said he believes people have the right to protest, but at the same time, he realizes that businesses are shut down and damaged, and his wife is unable to make it to work. He wants to serve on the jury because "it is a service to my community and our country."
A white woman in her 50s. She is a single mother who works as a high-level executive in the nonprofit sectorfocused on healthcare. She took the unusual step of summoning her own attorney to the courthouse during jury selection. The woman said the bystander video, which she had viewed before the trial began, left her with a somewhat negative view of Chauvin, explaining that "a man died, and I am not sure that's procedure. ... Not all police are bad, but the bad-behavior police need to go." At the same time, she acknowledged sympathy for Floyd and the officers at the scene that night, saying, "Everyone's lives are changed by this incident ... and it's not easy for anyone."
A Black man in his 30s. He works in banking and coaches youth sports. When selected for the jury, he said he had seen the bystander's video of Floyd's arrest and that "I don't think [Chauvin] had any intention of harming anybody, but somebody did die." When pressed about assessing Chauvin's intent, the man said he could still "definitely look at [the case] from an objective point of view." He also said he believes discrimination exists well beyond what the news media reports.
A white woman in her 50s. She lives outside Minneapolis and works as an executive assistant in a clinical health care setting. She said she had viewed the bystander's video before the trial, but she wrote in her questionnaire filled out months ago, "I couldn't watch it in full, because it was too disturbing to me." That said, she pledged that "I'm not in a position to change the law. I'm in a position to uphold the law. ... He's innocent until we can prove otherwise."
A Black man in his 40s. He works as a manager and says he has been a victim of home burglary in the past and the police came to help. He believes minorities are often arrestedbut disagrees with the concept of "defunding" law enforcement and said, "the police do a lot. ... I would trust the police."
A multi-race woman in her 40s. She is an organizational consultant who helps corporations improve personnel practices and efficiency. She is married with a son and said she spends a lot of time at ice hockey arenas. She said she believes police are human and can make mistakes. As relates to people who use drugs, she said,"I don't think a lot people would choose to have addiction as part of their life."Asked about the settlement, the woman said it wouldn't impact her. "I don't think that declares guilt one way or the other," she said.
A white woman in her 50s. She works as a nurse and lives in Edina. She assured the court she could judge the evidence fairly despite having seen portions of the viral video of Floyd's arrest and after hearing about the settlement. The woman said her professional training would affect how she would look at the evidence. "We all use our life experiences to make judgments," she said, which in her work include resuscitating patients in urgent situations and dispensing opiates while on the job. The judge interjected and pointed out that she can't be "an expert witness."
A Black woman in her 60s. She is a grandmother and retired marketing professional and volunteers helping children in need with their homework. She said she had started watching the video of Floyd's arrest before the trial but stopped after four to five minutes because "it just wasn't something that I needed to see." The woman said she had not formed opinions about either Chauvin or Floyd and was firm in saying news of the settlement would not affect her commitment to be an objective juror. She added: "I am Black, and my life matters."
A white woman in her 40s. She lives in the suburbs and works in the insurance industry. Like others, she said she had viewed the bystander video before the trial and was aware of the settlement but said those would not be stop her from being fair and objective as a juror. The woman wrote in her juror questionnaire months ago that she didn't believe Floyd deserved to die and police didn't need to use excessive force. She also said, "If someone uses drugs, I don't think there should be ramifications of violence for that." However, she continued, Floyd was not completely innocent. She said she has generally positive views of police and opposes any defunding of their departments, but also believes "people of other races get treated unfairly" by law enforcement.
Following the closing arguments on Monday, April 19, Judge Peter Cahill dismissed two of the jurors as alternates. They were:
A white woman in her 50s. She has worked in customer serviceand said she is an animal lover, "especially dogs." She said she saw the bystander video of Floyd's arrest before the trial and wrote in her juror questionnaire months ago, "This restraint was ultimately responsible for Mr. Floyd's demise." That said, she pledged under defense scrutiny that she could presume Chauvin innocent as the law requires her to do. She said she believes the criminal justice system works most of the time.
A white woman in her 20s. She is a newlywed and a social worker in Wright County whose clients are coping with mental health difficulties. She was unwavering in her confidence that she could judge only the evidence presented in the trial and added that her profession has provided her with the ability to be empathetic and keep an open mind about people.