Source: Mario Tama / Getty
Written By Bruce C.T. Wright
This article will be continuously updated throughout the Derek Chauvin murder trial, which begins Monday, March 8.
UPDATED: 1:24 p.m. ET, March 17
Two jurors were dismissed from the Derek Chauvin trial on Wednesday over concerns that their impartiality could be tainted by a $27M settlement between George Floyd‘s family and the city. One juror was a white man in his 30s while another was a Hispanic man in his 20s.
At the request of Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill questioned seven jurors who were empanelled prior to the settlement announcement.
The dismissal of two jurors is notable, but also hints that the perceived fallout over the $27M settlement did not have as large of an effect as thought.
Last week Hennepin Judge Peter Cahill considered a motion to delay the trial filed by Chauvin’s attorney on Monday.
Nelson asked Judge Cahill to also consider a change-of-venue, fearful that public perception could impede jurors’ ability to remain impartial.
Two jurors were added on Monday, now totaling nine. Five more will be selected in the coming days.
Third-degree murder charges have been reinstated against the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill made the ruling on March 11 and will be added to the second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter Derek Chauvin is already facing.
(!) Judge grants prosecution request to add third-degree murder charge against ex-officer Derek Chauvin who is charged in George Floyd’s death.— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 11, 2021
The additional charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison and increases the likelihood of a conviction on at least one of the charges.
Cahill’s decision Thursday was a reversal from his ruling in October to drop the charges on a legal technicality. For the third-degree murder charges to stick, the law requires that someone cause the death of another person while committing an act inherently dangerous to others. After an appeals court ruled against Cahill’s decision in October, the judge presiding over Chauvin’s murder trial changed his stance and reinstated the charge.
WATCH LIVE: The Judge explains why he granted the motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge against #DerekChauvin in the death of #GeorgeFloyd.— Court TV (@CourtTV) March 11, 2021
WATCH LIVE – MN v. #DerekChauvin on #CourtTV https://t.co/tnYdPcDRMU pic.twitter.com/Hq4B70IEmP
The first juror in Chauvin’s murder trial was selected late Tuesday morning and the jury selection process was continuing Thursday after Cahill’s ruling.
Jury selection was initially paused on Monday to allow Cahill to weigh additional charges against Chauvin, who was seen on video casually applying what appeared to be deadly pressure to Floyd’s neck as the unarmed Black man was handcuffed face-down on a Minneapolis street’s pavement for about nine minutes on May 25.
BREAKING NEWS: The start of Derek Chauvin’s trial has been delayed until tomorrow morning. Demonstrators are outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis to protest police brutality. pic.twitter.com/RMbmYd4C4T— Amudalat Ajasa (@AmudalatAjasa) March 8, 2021
The process of selecting a jury has been given three weeks, with opening statements scheduled to begin no later than March 29.
Judge Peter Cahill rules that jury selection will go forward in the Derek Chauvin trial.— The Recount (@therecount) March 8, 2021
This is despite a pending petition to the MN Supreme Court over whether to add a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/NCQttRCOzy
Everybody can agree that justice for Floyd is the primary objective of Chauvin’s murder trial. But whether that justice can actually be achieved is a completely different story — even with the damning evidence of a viral video showing Chauvin, hands in his pockets, almost shrugging while staring indifferently at witnesses warning that he was killing Floyd, and the momentum of a racial reckoning sparked by the death on Memorial Day.
If you’re looking for footage of the killing, you won’t find it here.
But that fateful moment has prompted a wave of protests demanding change to policing in America in order to invest in the Black and brown communities that are disproportionately affected by law enforcement.
Just last week, the House passed the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, sweeping legislation that reimagines how police departments operate through accountability and transparency.
Most relevant to Chauvin’s murder trial, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act aims to hold police accountable in part by collecting data about officers accused of misconduct and worse behavior. Chauvin, who turns 45 on March 19 and has pleaded not guilty, has a history of using brutal neck restraints, other suspects have claimed.
Advocates say Chauvin shouldn’t even have been working as a police officer on Memorial Day considering his violent past. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office is hoping to introduce these claims as evidence of a pattern of Chauvin’s renegade style of policing that also appeared to kill Floyd.
Adding insult to literal injury, Chauvin has a notable history of being placed on leave for officer-involved shootings and he remains the subject of “a dozen police conduct complaints that resulted in no disciplinary action.” During his 19-year-career, Chauvin was praised for valor by his department, even after shooting a Black man back in 2008 who survived the shooting.
Cahill in October upheld the most serious murder charge against Chauvin in Floyd’s death.
Chauvin was bailed out in October on a $1 million bond.
If convicted, Chauvin — who began his career with the Minneapolis Police Academy in October 2001 — could be sentenced to 55 years in prison, effectively spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Even though three other Minneapolis police officers were assisting Chauvin when Floyd died, Chauvin will face trial alone. Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng — the other cops with Floyd — will be tried together, apart from Chauvin, in a trial scheduled to begin in August. The three of them stand charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
NewsOne will be constantly updating this file as the Derek Chauvin murder trial progresses. Check back for developments and keep reading to find compelling photos, video and other key moments from the trial.
1. March 17
A judge Wednesday dismissed two seated jurors in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer accused in George Floyd's death over concerns a $27M settlement the city reached with Floyd's family would affect their ability to be impartial.https://t.co/JMNgTBUWt4 via @nbcnews— Janelle Fiona Griffith (@janellefiona) March 17, 2021
2. March 15
Ex-officer Derek Chauvin's defense team requests a delay in his trial due to news of the city's $27 million settlement with George Floyd's family https://t.co/l1BQt8OXxr— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 15, 2021
3. March 11
Judge Peter Cahill has reinstated the third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the killing of George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/Fud7V9VRhR— The Recount (@therecount) March 11, 2021
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill reinstates the third-degree murder charges he previously dropped. The addition increases the likelihood of a conviction.
4. March 8
Bridgett Floyd (L), the sister of George Floyd, looks on as Jacari Harris, executive director of the George Floyd Foundation, speaks during a press conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
5. March 8
People march during a demonstration in honor of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
6. March 8
People gather in a Manhattan park to protest on the first day of the trial for the killing of George Floyd, in New York City.
7. March 8
Demonstrators hold a vigil in honor of George Floyd in Atlanta.
8. March 7
Demonstrators kneel at an intersection as the names of people killed by police are listed off during a march in honor of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
9. March 7
A law enforcement officer stands with members of the National Guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center surrounded by fencing in Minneapolis.
10. March 7
St. Paul Public Schools Board Member Chauntyll Allen speaks to the crowd after they returned to the Hennepin County Government Center during a silent march in memory of George Floyd a day before jury selection for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin begins in Minneapolis.
11. March 7
Protesters march through the city during a silent march in memory of George Floyd a day before jury selection for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin begins in Minneapolis.
12. March 7
Protesters carry a fake casket during a silent march in memory of George Floyd a day before jury selection for the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin begins in Minneapolis.
13. March 7
A demonstrator carries a rifle during the “I Cant Breathe – Silent March for Justice” protest in front of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
14. March 7
Demonstrators participate in the “I Cant Breathe – Silent March for Justice” protest in front of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
15. March 6
People visit George Floyd Square, the memorial created around the site where he was killed in Minneapolis.
16. March 6
Gianna Floyd, daughter of George Floyd, stands next to a podium during a news conference in downtown Houston.
17. March 6
LaTonya Floyd, sister of George Floyd, wipes tears from her eyes after speaking at a news conference in downtown Houston.
18. March 6
Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, holds a sign with George Floyd’s picture on it outside the Minnesota Governor’s residence during a protest in St.Paul, Minnesota.
19. March 3
Workers install security fencing at the Hennepin County Government Headquarters in Minneapolis. Security measures are being increased and more police and National Guard soldiers are expected in downtown Minneapolis before jury selection begins at former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in the death of George Floyd.