Derek Chauvin’s murder trial over the death of George Floyd has been delayed after two jurors said a $27 million payout to Floyd’s family had biased them
The murder trial of George Floyd has been delayed after two jurors said a $27 million payout to the victim’s family had biased them. The unnamed pair, both men, shared their concerns about last Friday’s payment with Judge Peter Cahill at the Hennepin County Government Center courtroom in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
Asked by Judge Cahill how news of the settlement would affect his ability to try the case, the first juror questioned said: ‘It will impact me a lot.’ He explained that it had given him a more negative opinion of Floyd’s alleged murderer Derek Chauvin, adding: ‘I think it would be hard to be impartial.’
The second juror dismissed voiced similar concerns. He explained: ‘Why are your skills needed for the long-term? That sticker price shocked me and swayed me a little bit, yes.’
Both men were among seven jurors chosen before Friday’s payout to Floyd’s family over the wrongful death of the security guard in May 2020. A total of 14 jurors must be selected before the prosecution can open its case.
Chauvin’s trial is being held at the Hennepin County Government Center, which is currently sealed off and being protected by the Minnesota National Guard (Picture: AP)
Jury selection began last week, and is unlikely to conclude before the end of this week.
Prospective jurors have been asked a series of questions to try and establish whether they have any personal beliefs which could influence their ability to try the case.
Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson has asked for a continuance (delay) to the trial or for it to be shifted elsewhere. He said he was ‘gravely concerned’ that the compensation, green-lighted by the City of Minneapolis, makes Chauvin look guilty before any evidence has been put to jurors, and ‘taint the jury pool.’
Prosecutors say the case should continue as planned, with Judge Cahill set to rule on whether to delay the case by the end of the week.
Last week’s payout had nothing to do with ongoing legal proceedings, and came after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and councilors settled a lawsuit over Floyd’s death at the hands of Chauvin.
Chauvin, who denies murder and manslaughter, was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes 46 seconds while arresting him last May.
Floyd was apprehended after allegedly trying to pay with a fake $20 bill at a convenience store.
His repeated ‘I can’t breathe’ plea during his final moments sparked ongoing Black Lives Matter protests across the US.
Chauvin and his three Minneapolis Police Department colleagues were all fired in the aftermath.
Those three other cops – Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – have been charged with aiding and abetting the killing, and will be charged at a later date.
Their lawyers have blamed drugs in Floyd’s system, as well as a heart condition and an undiagnosed Covid infection for his death.
But prosecutors maintain that Floyd died with those conditions, not because of them, and that Chauvin was to blame for his death.
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