The jury selection is complete for the murder trial slated to begin next week for the fired police officer who killed George Floyd. On Tuesday, a 15th juror was selected for the trial, in which Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for killing Floyd in May 2020, an abuse of power that sparked historic protests against police brutality around the nation.
Though the court initially called for 12 jurors and just two alternates, District Judge Peter Cahill brought in a 15th juror — who will be excused before the trial begins next Monday — in case one drops out before the opening statements. Jury selection for the trial has moved more quickly than anticipated, as the judge, prosecutors, and Chauvin’s defense attorneys have whittled down an initial jury pool of 326 people. According to CBS News, the jury is made up of nine women and five men, eight of whom are white, four of whom are Black, and two of whom identify as multiracial. Jurors range in age from their 20s to their 60s.
The initial jury selection, which was scheduled to begin on March 8, was briefly delayed after prosecutors announced their intention to add a third-degree murder charge to the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges that were already in place. Judge Cahill accepted the charge after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered him to reconsider its applicability; the charge had previously been reserved for acts that could endanger multiple people, which was changed by the appeals court earlier this year to apply to cases in which only one person was killed.
On Friday, Cahill rejected motions from the defense to delay or relocate the trial after the announcement of a $27 million settlement between the city of Minneapolis and Floyd’s family. The settlement announcement did result in the dismissal of two jurors from the panel, who said that they could no longer be impartial. “Clearly the city of Minneapolis has some strong opinions as well and this just kind of confirms the opinions that I already have,” one of the former jurors said.
The National Guard is already preparing for a potential deployment to the Twin Cities in case of unrest during the proceedings, and Governor Tim Walz had pushed for $35 million in security and law-enforcement costs for the trial, before the measure was blocked in the state house. The joint trials for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter for the other three police officers on the scene when Floyd was killed — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao — are scheduled to start in August.