DAY 1 – Monday, March 8th
Jury selection was put on hold as prosecutors sought to add a third-degree murder charge to Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing 46-year-old George Floyd.
“This court would be making decisions about jurors for a trial about which we don’t know what the exact charges are going to be yet,” Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank said, according to CBS.
Meanwhile, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said he cannot make a ruling while the matter is being appealed.
Jury selection will resume Tuesday, in part because Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals’ decision which found Judge Cahill was wrong in refusing to reinstate third-degree murder charges against the ex-cop. Nelson said juror selection should proceed despite the pending petition.
Prospective jurors in the George Floyd murder trial are being asked their views on Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements (see form).
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Meanwhile, outside, protesters chanted “convict killer cops” and massive banners proclaimed “the world is watching.”
Currently, Chauvin is facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in connection with Floyd’s death.
Judge Cahill initially dropped the third-degree murder charge in November, but state prosecutors revisited the matter in early February after the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld ex-Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor’s third-degree murder conviction in Justine Damond’s 2017 shooting death.
On Friday, the appellate court sided with prosecutors and ordered Judge Cahill to reconsider third-degree murder charges.
The three other ex-officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Last month, prosecutors sought to add aiding and abetting third-degree murder charges to their cases.
It was back on May 25, Memorial Day that Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 46, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit $20 bill at the Cup Foods supermarket. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck. It was reported that this lasted 8 minutes 46 seconds, but some have disputed that. Floyd was shown gasping for air and saying he could not breathe before he seemingly lost consciousness.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has expressed his support for Antifa, chose to sit on body camera footage for several months. The footage appears to show Floyd’s resistance and drugged-out state of mind. His son, Jeremiah Ellison, has also expressed support for the violent extremist movement.
The judge and attorneys will reconvene on the 18th-floor courtroom, which is surrounded by concrete barriers, chain-link fencing, and barbed wire, along with National Guard troops and police standing guard behind.
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