Thursday’s jury selection session produced three more jurors for a total of 12 in the Derek Chauvin “murder trial.” Three more are needed.
Judge Cahill remarked that the media wants more info about jurors but that, currently, they will only get the age decade and how they race self-identify. When he feels it’s “safe for the jurors” he will order more info released.
Meanwhile, Jerry Blackwell of the prosecution asked Judge Peter Cahill to allow a doctor’s testimony stating that George Floyd was suffering from claustrophobia and anxiety during the arrest. The defense, however, may argue that he was feigning his symptoms. A year prior during an arrest in Texas, George Floyd was also caught on camera trying to garner sympathy from police by mentioning his dead mama and repeatedly saying, “please, man” to the cops. However, during that time, he did not tell cops that he was claustrophobic.
Truth be told, George Floyd has spent the last two decades getting in trouble with the law for a handful of reasons, including possession of drugs, and robbery with a deadly weapon. Blackwell is arguing against the allowance of the May 2019 arrest.
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Meanwhile, Chauvin also has a muddied background. He reportedly had 26 incidents before George Floyd. He had kneeled on the neck of 7 people before he did this to the 8th person, George Floyd. He had killed 5 people before he killed George Floyd.
The court heard a total of eight jurors today.
The first juror being questioned knew about the $27M civil settlement amount and her friends shared thoughts about it. She said it moved her somewhat.
When the George Floyd incident first happened, Juror 86 was constantly listening and admitted to siding with the prosecution.
Judge excuses the juror from service.
Announcing the settlement during jury selection has further sullied the jury pool, making it increasingly difficult to find an impartial juror. City Attorney Jim Rowader would not discuss whether city officials consulted with the criminal court on the timing of the settlement. He pushed back strongly on criticism that the timing had affected jury selection.
The size of the $27M settlement exceeds the amount of money that is in the account the city typically uses to pay out lawsuits and other claims. To cover the costs, the city plans to dip into its “rainy day fund.”
Juror 87, a married mother of five, is a BCA Assistant Special Agent in Charge. She stated that wouldn’t affect her opinion in the case. She has never watched the video of George Floyd dying — she’s only seen a still frame photograph but believes that the aftermath of Floyd’s death has negatively affected Minneapolis. More crime and the reputation of the city has taken a hit.
She believes the press exaggerates discrimination but not more than other things the press exaggerates. “The media exaggerates a lot of things.” They push things that “stirs up controversy.”
Her questionnaire revealed she has a “very unfavorable” opinion of Black Lives Matter. One of her sons attended a BLM protest and she strongly disagreed with the notion that police decisions should not be second-guessed.
She explained that she held a “neutral” view of Chauvin and a “neutral/negative” view of Floyd.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher exercised a peremptory strike against this juror with four remaining strikes after Judge Cahill gave them an extra one yesterday.
Juror 88, a female, heard about the “payout from the city.”
After several minutes of off-audio questioning, the juror was excused by the judge. Judge Cahill explained Juror 88 is an acquaintance of an essential witness for the prosecution.
A nurse with 27 years of experience, Juror 89 came across as a well-rounded and confident person. She became the 10th juror seated.
She was extensively questioned in regards to how she would weigh in given her background. For instance, the court asked her about recitations. She admitted to having experience with “code blues,” remarking that the hospital usually debriefs to talk about what went wrong.
Given her experience, I wondered what she would say given CPR wasn’t conducted on the spot and that a limp Floyd was sloppily placed on a gurney.
According to the autopsy report, there were some “medical interventions” conducted, like intubating his tibia.
Did they occur in the ambulance?
When I asked Hennepin County Medical Center back in June what supposedly happened during the last hour of George Floyd’s life, the person on the call referenced an article written in the Star Tribune. So rather than give me an answer, they asked a journalist — me — to get answers from an article.
According to the Star Tribune, “George Floyd showed no signs of life from time EMS arrived,” the fire department report stated. However, Floyd was NOT a Dead on Arrival (DOA).
Why didn’t they do CPR on site, you may ask?
“The decision to “load and go,” rather than triage at the scene, was likely based on their race against the clock,” Scheerer said. Unloading all the equipment can often take much longer than treating a patient from inside the ambulance.
When pressed about a potential duty to intervene if a patient is endangered on a call, Hennepin Healthcare EMS Chief Marty Scheerer surmised that, in this case, “responders were unaware of how severe the situation had become.”
Wow. Isn’t it their job to assess how severe a situation has become?
“I don’t think the paramedics knew what was going on. They just saw a split second of what was happening,” he said in reference to Chauvin’s prolonged knee restraint on Floyd’s neck. “Ultimately, if the police have somebody in custody, we have to get permission from them to work with on the patient.”
So then the answer should be easy. All of these medical interventions were done in the ambulance and he was DOA. But again the autopsy report doesn’t state this.
In any case, Juror 89, who believes Blacks and other minorities do not receive equal treatment in the system and who is “somewhat unfavorable” to “blue lives matter” seems to be a valuable juror.
When asked about her name eventually becoming public if selected, Juror 89 said she has seen Dateline episodes where they interview jurors and wants nothing to do with that.
Juror 90 was a male IT systems administrator. He expressed concern that the government thinks all the safety precautions are necessary. He said he’d never seen the George Floyd arrest video. Despite only seeing still photos, he said the police “accosted” George Floyd and he had a “very negative” impression of Chauvin.
He added that he “strongly” agrees that the criminal justice system doesn’t treat Blacks and people of color equally to others and explained that his opinion is based on media reports, prison populations, and drug sentences.
Judge Cahill excused Juror 90 for cause.
A grandmother who enjoys taking care of her family, Juror 91 told the court she would rely on the facts and what was presented during jury deliberations.
When Derek Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, asked her if two people perceive events differently, does that automatically means one or the other is lying, she responded, “No..we just have to work harder to get to a common truth.”
Juror 91, who used to live in the general area of 38th and Chicago 20 to 30 years ago, said that while she does have a relative in the Minneapolis Police Dept., she told Nelson that would not bias her in any way.
She added that she has seen part of the video of George Floyd’s death on social media, and said that the unrest that followed affected her brother who gets medication through the mail.
She said her only concern with the trial was COVID-19, but she’s now vaccinated and has no concerns. While she admitted that it will be a challenge to be a juror, she was excited to do her civic duty when she received her summons.
The judge seated Juror 91.
Juror 92, a woman who works in the insurance industry, said she was “very shocked” when she found out she had been summoned for jury duty.
“I didn’t expect to be a part of something of this magnitude,” she told the court.
Juror 92 has a “somewhat favorable” view of Black Lives Matter, “very favorable” view of Blue Lives Matter. And a “somewhat negative” impression of both Chauvin and Floyd. She also “strongly disagreed” with defunding police.
She would be terrified if police departments were dismantled” but “obvious that change needs to happen.”
Similar to others, this juror has some concerns about safety.
“Someone may hold the opinion that if a person is harmed, and they’ve been using illegal drugs, they get what’s coming to them,” the prosecution posed.
Her response was, “I don’t think that’s true … if someone uses drugs I don’t think there should be ramifications of violence for that.”
She was seated.
Juror 95, a male with a slight accent who likes to play cricket, expressed concern for his family’s safety if his name would be released in the future. He knew about the $27M civil settlement and thought it was unusual that it came before the criminal case was concluded.
He admitted that he will really struggle over his concerns about safety & security if his name ever got released as a juror on this case.
The judge dismissed this juror from service.
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