BLM protestors left a wake of destruction in their paths when the U.S. erupted into a raging inferno over the killing of George Floyd. “I can’t breathe” became their battle cry.
Cancel culture came next. If any product, object, or thing even remotely hints at conveying racial overtones, be gone with it. Sorry, Uncle Ben. A grateful nation thanks you for your service.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is the guy who started the entire ruckus by leaning too heavily on the neck of George Floyd, ultimately causing his death. At the time of Floyd’s arrest, Chauvin was surrounded by a screaming mob who probably would have attacked him had it not been for his fellow officers. Adrenaline was a contributing factor.
Chauvin’s fate will soon be resting in the hands of 12 jury members as the selection gets underway. Due to the public nature of the case, this is expected to be a painstaking process. Potential jurors can plan on being raked over the coals prior to receiving a yay or a nay.
Former prosecuting attorney Susan Gaertner briefly summed up the process. “You don’t want jurors who are completely blank slates because that would mean they’re not in tune at all with the world,” she said. “But what you want is jurors who can set aside opinions that have formed prior to walking into the courtroom and give both sides a fair hearing.”
What happens in Chauvin’s trial will have an impact on the upcoming trial of the other three ex-officers involved in Floyd’s arrest. They’ll stand trial in August on aiding and abetting charges for not coming to Floyd’s rescue rather than protecting their partner.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, doesn’t see how an impartial or unbiased jury can be selected within Hennepin County due to the recent history of violent unrest in Minneapolis. Judge Peter Cahill does not agree. Cahill said that relocating to a different county would be pointless due to the immense amount of pre-trial publicity. It wouldn’t matter where the trial was held.
Cahill said there is no fix for having to weed out potential jurors who could taint the outcome of the case. He made it clear how “no corner of the State of Minnesota” has not been affected.
Selected jurors must reside in Hennepin County, be at least 18, and be U.S. citizens. Extensive questionnaires were sent to candidates asking their views on police brutality and any run-ins they may have had with the law. They were further asked if they had personally ever protested against police brutality and if they think America’s justice system is fair.
The questionnaire got down to brass tacks by asking how many times a person had watched the George Floyd video, but it didn’t stop there. It not only asked if they had ever carried a sign at a protest, it asked what was written on it.
Local defense attorney, Mike Brandt, said the prosecutors are going to be looking for liberals who think the BLM movement is peachy-keen. Chauvin’s group, on the other hand, will be searching out conservatives who support police, guns, country, and love Jesus.
So both sides are going to try and stack the jurors in their favor, but this isn’t anything new. The problem, in this case, is with the trial being held in the liberal city of Minneapolis. Outside of Hennepin County are where the jurors who Chauvin needs all reside which explains why the judge wouldn’t move the location of the trial.
Generally, potential jurors are asked a few questions as a group prior to being selected. These candidates for the hot-seat are being interviewed one by one by the judge and both lead attorneys.
The attorney for Chauvin can reject up to 15 candidates without citing a reason. Prosecutors can do the same with up to nine. But it gets tricky. Either side can object to the other side’s dismissal of a potential juror if they think the decision was based solely on race or gender.
So this might take a while. The court believes they’ll have the jurors sitting comfy in their seats within three weeks. We say, don’t count on it.
What do you think? Will Chauvin get a fair trial? What do you think the outcome should be?