The morning started with a bang as Judge Peter Cahill granted the motion to reinstate the 3rd-degree murder charge in the Derek Chauvin Trial, after initially dismissing it in October.
Third-degree murder in Minnesota, one of the few states to carry the lesser charge, is defined as causing “the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life” but without intent to kill.
Incidentally, Derek had agreed back in May to plead guilty to a third-degree charge but Mr. Barr, then attorney general, denied this request worried in part of protesters calling it lenient.
The 44-year-old former Minneapolis police officer has additionally been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.
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Chauvin’s defense team appealed the higher court’s ruling but their motion was denied by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, jury selection continued, seating 1 more juror, bringing the total to 6 of the 14 required. Seemingly, race is part of this trial and the judge did outline that one of the jurors is multiracial, three are white, one is Hispanic and one is black.
JURY DUTY DAY FOUR
Today’s jurors seemed to have stronger viewpoints leading several to be dismissed for cause.
At the time of his questionnaire, the unidentified man who lost his mother a month prior, stated that while his responses were accurate at the time, he had changed one of his answers.
After that, the audio cut, and when they returned to the session, he was struck from the case without further explanation.
The Hispanic man, who described himself as outgoing and family-oriented, admitted that his mind was blown when he received jury duty notice and was excited given that this is a “big case.”
He described Floyd as “desperately screaming,” that “there was no reason for Chauvin to kneel on his neck for that long,” but “if he had complied with officers’ orders, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Juror 36, who thinks positively of police but not Chauvin, was seated.
A mother, Juror 37 who said “oh man” when she was called in for jury duty, admitted to being traumatized by the viral video of George Floyd. She admitted to having a very negative outlook on Derek Chauvin.
“His face was so hateful,” she said referring to that fateful day on May 25th while he placed his knee on Floyd’s neck.
When she was asked whether she negatively viewed the property damage of the riots, she rescinded:
“I feel that if that’s what needed to happen for the world to know about it, that’s what needed to happen.”
When the judge asked her, “Do you think it will be difficult for you to presume the defendant innocent before the trial begins?” she said, “I do.”
“I’ve seen the video, so I can’t unsee it.”
After deliberation, Juror 37 was excused for cause.
This white male business owner had answers that cut both ways. With a “strong respect for law enforcement,” he expressed not wanting to defund the police and was also supportive of Black Lives Matters.
When he received his notice for jury duty, he sarcastically told his wife “how did they find us again,” given that he had served as a juror before moving to MN three years prior.
“Discrimination is not as bad as the media makes it out to be,” he stated.
Suffice to say he was bounced by the State.
When Juror 39 received the jury notice he shouted at his wife to come to view the request out of disbelief.
In addition to supporting the defunding of police, Juror 39 recalled how the viral video was outrageous, and that police were behaving like an occupying force.
“What popped into my mind were images of World War II, adding that the police “treated a citizen as an enemy combatant.”
His wife had attended a BLM rally but he did not since he was one of the few working full time during the pandemic.
On Blue Lives: “I don’t understand how anyone could view the police as somehow threatened or endangered when they are well-armed & have all the power in most situations. I’m baffled by it.”
After the defense asked prospective Juror 39 in several different ways whether he’d be fair and impartial, and he promised he would be, the defense exercised a peremptory challenge and he was excused.
A husband and music teacher, Juror 40 knew more details than most interviewed thus far, such as the fact that Derek went through a divorce and that George said he was claustrophobic.
Surprisingly, he didn’t remember leaving a post on Facebook about his visit to 38th and Chicago where Floyd was “murdered,” which he described as “holy ground.”
“Would it surprise you to learn that we’re looking into the background of our potential jurors and that I looked at your social media,” Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson told the potential juror.
“I’m glad I wrote that.”
The defense exercised a peremptory strike.
Nelson has used seven of the 15 challenges he is allowed.
Prosecutors have used four of the nine that they are allocated.
Cahill dismissed 18 others without even being questioned over answers they gave on a 16-page jury questionnaire that was sent to them in December.
Potential jurors will continue to be grilled during Day Five.
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