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It's a Big Moment for the George Floyd Case

Jury selection begins in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2021 5:32 AM CST

(Newser) – The fate of a former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe will be decided by 12 Hennepin County residents picked after extensive grilling about their views on police and the justice system, per the AP. Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Picking a jury is expected to take at least three weeks, as prosecutors and defense attorneys try to weed out people who may be biased against them. Floyd was declared dead May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes, holding his position even after Floyd went limp as he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach. Floyd’s death led to a nationwide reckoning on race.

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Chauvin and three other officers were fired; the others face an August trial on aiding and abetting charges. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, argued that pretrial publicity of the case and the subsequent violent unrest in Minneapolis would make it impossible to find an impartial jury in Hennepin County. But Judge Peter Cahill said last year that moving the trial probably wouldn't cure the problem of a potentially tainted jury pool because “no corner of the State of Minnesota” has been shielded from pretrial publicity. The potential jurors—who must be at least 18, US citizens, and residents of Hennepin County—were sent questionnaires to determine how much they have heard about the case and whether they’ve formed any opinions.

(Read more Derek Chauvin stories.)

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