The jury for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd has been seated, clearing the way for the opening arguments in the trial, set to begin Monday.
The 12-member jury includes two white men, four white women, three Black men, one Black woman and two women who identify as mixed race, according to information provided by the court. Two white women and a white man are the alternates.
Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, captured on video that showed him pinned under Chauvin’s knee for more than nine minutes, set off months of protests across the country against police brutality and for racial equality, the largest mass movement for civil rights since the 1960s. The racial makeup of the jury was closely watched.
Chauvin is white and Floyd was Black. The pool of potential jurors in Hennepin County is whiter than the population of Minneapolis and has grown more so during the pandemic.
But the jury will be more diverse than Minneapolis, which is 20% Black.
The Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure say that the alternates will be the last three jurors chosen, two white women and a white man in his 20s who was questioned Tuesday. Only two of them will be seated when the trial begins.
Like many of the jurors, the man chosen Tuesday said he had a “somewhat negative” opinion of Chauvin after seeing parts of the video of Floyd’s treatment in police custody. But he added that he did not support defunding the police and believed the police helped keep him safe.
From the start, many worried that it would be impossible to seat an impartial jury in Minneapolis for a case that provoked wide-scale unrest and reverberated around the world.
Prospective jurors were asked about answers they provided on a 14-page questionnaire that asked their views on a wide range of topics including Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and whether the criminal justice system is racially discriminatory. Those who expressed opinions said they could set them aside and rule according to the evidence presented at trial.
Jury selection was set to take three weeks, and jurors that had already been chosen had to be called back and questioned again after the city announced a $27 million settlement with Floyd’s estate.
Despite that delay, jury selection ended several days ahead of schedule.