Before being chosen, jurors were asked their opinions about George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, police, racial discrimination and last summer’s protests.
Kevin McCoy, Grace Hauck and Christal Hayes, USA TODAY
Published 12:30 PM GMT+5:30 Mar. 28, 2021 Updated 12:30 PM GMT+5:30 Mar. 28, 2021
We may not know the names of the jurors for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about them.

Over about two weeks, lawyers for the prosecution and defense quizzed potential jurors about their knowledge of Floyd’s death, their opinions of Chauvin, and their attitudes about police, racial injustice, and the protests and rioting that followed Floyd’s death.

Some questioned how much force was used against Floyd, who lay on the ground for more than nine minutes as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. Several believe the criminal justice system needs to be reformed. More than one questioned the movement to defund police departments.

Discussing her opinion about Black Lives Matter, one woman responded, “I am Black, and my life matters.”

The jurors pledged to set their opinions aside. But their answers provide a glimpse into how they might respond to the evidence in the coming weeks.

Opening arguments are to start Monday.

Twelve people will sit on the jury and two will serve as alternates. For Chauvin’s trial, a 15th person was selected, too. He is set to be dismissed Monday morning if the others arrive as scheduled.

Chemist, white man in his 20s
Chemist, white man in his 20s
Citing his science training, the first juror selected said he is “pretty logical” and passionate about his work. He said that background would make him a good juror.

He plays Ultimate Frisbee and frequently hikes and backpacks during the warmer months. He and his fiancee recently visited the area where George Floyd died, in part because they have considered moving to that area of Minneapolis, he said.

He said he had not seen the now-famous bystander video of the confrontation that ended with Floyd’s death, only still images. But he said he’d be willing to watch the video during the trial: “For the sake of the jury process, I would be willing to be uncomfortable.”

Chemist, a white man in his 20’s
“For the sake of the jury process, I would be willing to be uncomfortable.”
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead defense lawyer, asked the juror what he meant when he wrote on his juror questionnaire that Floyd had been “killed” by Chauvin. “I wouldn’t say it’s demonstrative of my opinion,” the juror replied.

He said his personal impression of the Minneapolis Police Department “is fine.”

Questioned about his opinions on Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, he said, “I support the message that every life should matter equally.”

In this image taken from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, and Nelson’s assistant Amy Voss, back, introduce themselves to potential jurors as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides, prior to continuing jury selection, Monday, March 15, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd.
Show caption
In this image taken from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, and Nelson’s assistant Amy Voss,…
AP
Mixed-race woman in her 20s
Mixed-race woman in her 20s
Getting a chance to serve on the Chauvin jury was the reason this young woman registered to vote, she told the court. “I was super-excited” to be called for the jury, she said. “That’s actually why I voted.”

The young woman, whose occupation didn’t come up during jury questioning, has an uncle who works as a police officer in northern Minnesota. One of her only concerns about jury duty was whether she would have time to check her blood sugar because she has Type 1 diabetes.

Like some other jurors, she said she could face personal risk by serving. “But I’m not as concerned about it as I probably should be,” she said.

Friends “kind of consider me to a type of mediator,” she said, which could be helpful during jury deliberations.

Mixed-race woman in her 20s
I like the idea of what it’s (Black Lives Matter) supposed to be about. But it’s been turned into a marketing scheme by companies.
She said she believes her community improved because of the massive protests that took place after Floyd’s death. Asked about her opinion on Black Lives Matter, she said, “I like the idea of what it’s supposed to be about. But it’s been turned into a marketing scheme by companies.”

She noted that she’d heard some people mention that Floyd had drugs in his system. “I don’t necessarily agree” that drugs could have caused his death, she said. “It could have everything to do with it. It could have nothing to do with it.”

A protester carries a portrait of George Floyd during a protest march around the Hennepin County Government Center, Monday, March 15, 2021, in Minneapolis where the second week of jury selection continues in the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd during an arrest last may in Minneapolis.
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A protester carries a portrait of George Floyd during a protest march around the Hennepin County Government Center, Monday, March 15, 2021, in Minneapolis where…
JIM MONE, AP
Business auditor, white man in his 30s
Business auditor, white man in his 30s
This juror said one concern about serving on the jury would be whether he could block out enough time from work for what’s estimated to be a four-week trial.

A friend of a friend is a police officer, but the acquaintance wouldn’t sway his views, the juror said. Besides, the officer is on the K-9 unit and mostly “talks about his dog” with him, the man said.

The juror has seen parts of the bystander video two or three times, he said, but not the whole thing.

Business auditor, a white man in his 30s
Whether you’re involved in drugs or not shouldn’t affect whether you end up alive or dead.
Questioned by prosecutor Steve Schleicher, he said he’d read that Floyd might have had “hard drugs in his system,” meaning anything stronger than marijuana. “Frankly, I don’t think that should have much influence on the case. Whether you’re involved in drugs or not shouldn’t affect whether you end up alive or dead,” he said.

He dismissed reports that Floyd had what he described as a “checkered past,” saying, “What happened in the past shouldn’t be on trial here.”

Regarding Black Lives Matter, he said: “I think some of the ways that groups have gone about it hasn’t been the best. But I believe Black lives matter.”

Protesters gather calling for justice for George Floyd on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Minneapolis. Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of Floyd, a black man who died in police custody, were fired Tuesday, hours after a bystander’s video showed an officer kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving.
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Protesters gather calling for justice for George Floyd on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Minneapolis. Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of Floyd, a…
CARLOS GONZALEZ, STAR TRIBUNE VIA AP
Information technology manager, Black man in his 30s
Information technology manager, Black man in his 30s
The West Africa-born man who emigrated to the U.S. 14 years ago said he and his wife discussed “how it could have been me, or anyone else,” who died. He appeared to say that not because of his skin color, but because the couple once lived in the area where Floyd died.

Since coming to the U.S., he’s become a big fan of American football, rooting for the Minnesota Vikings and the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota. He said he withdrew from social media about a decade ago for security and privacy reasons. He manages several people at work and helps resolve conflicts, he said.

He saw clips of the video on TV. Based on what he saw and conversations with family and friends, he wrote on his jury questionnaire that he had a “somewhat negative” opinion of Chauvin.

Information technology manager, a Black man in his 30s
“For the police to make my community safe, they have to have the money.”
However, he said he didn’t know what had happened before the video started. Referring to Floyd, he said: “I think it was important for me to know the facts that led to his arrest and how he ended up dying.”

People in his community understood the protests that followed Floyd’s death, he said. However, they “were not okay with the looting” that occurred.

He opposes the movement to defund police departments. “For the police to make my community safe,” he said, “they have to have the money.”

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