Jury Selection Process In Derek Chauvin Trial Raises Question About Race

It has been more than 10 months since George Floyd was killed during a police encounter in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the world continues to mourn his tragic death, legal professionals prepare for the trial for the man many deem responsible for his death, former police officer Derek Chauvin. With opening arguments less than one month away, prosecutors and defense attorneys work diligently to put together a jury that will come to a verdict that will shape American policing moving forward.

Moving through the jury selection process, Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, has continued to argue that this trial is "not about race." However, his line of questioning during the jury selection process suggests otherwise. During the jury selection process, a man said that he "strongly agreed" that Black and white people aren't treated equally under the current criminal justice system.

“If you’re Black ... we get the things where you have to go to jail,” the potential juror said.

Ultimately, the potential juror said that he could put aside his personal biases to judge this case fairly. Despite his commitment to judging the case fairly, the defense used a peremptory strike to remove the potential juror from the jury pool.

"To strike him for those reasons is tantamount to striking him because he is Black," Andrew Gordon of the Legal Rights Center in Minnesota told USA Today.

"You are eliminating opportunities to have individuals on that jury who have an appreciation of race and law enforcement interactions with race that could help inform truth-seeking."

Many potential jurors have also been dismissed for having strong emotional reactions after seeing the video of George Floyd on Memorial Day because Judge Peter Cahill felt that the trial would cause them emotional trauma. Another young, Black juror came into question after she revealed that she “cried hearing him call for his mother during his last moments of life.” She said that she could remain impartial, but she was dismissed as well.

Ultimately, it appears that many of the potential jurors who have been dismissed have had an emotional reaction to a man dying in the street or believe there are issues with the criminal justice system. Many of the people in these two groups are Black, which could have a profound effect on the upcoming proceedings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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