The big news on Chauvin trial day 5 took place over at the Minneapolis City Clowncil, as our friends at Justice & Drew call it. The city settled the wrongful death case brought by George Floyd’s next of kin for the world-beating sum of $27 million.
The Star Tribune reports: “Attorneys for the Floyd family hailed it as the largest pretrial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. history, saying the payout sent a powerful statement about the value of Black lives in America.” The screenshot below depicts the Star Tribune above the fold on page 1 this morning, while we are about midway in the process of jury selection.
If I were counsel for Chauvin I think I would want to revisit the issue of venue with Judge Cahill just about every day. The five prospective jurors interviewed yesterday yielded one woman — juror number 42 — who will sit on the jury. She is the seventh selected as we head toward 14 or 16 (including two or four alternates).
Juror number 44 is an executive with a health care nonprofit. Her opinion of Chauvin based on the videos she has seen is “somewhat negative.” She expressed sympathy for George Floyd (“he didn’t deserve to die”) and the officers. “Everyone’s life was changed by this incident,” she said.
She believes that our laws haven’t kept up with social changes. Reform is needed. She believes that the judicial system is racially biased, that excessive force against blacks must stop, that the system is “inherently biased,” that “white privilege” is a reality.
However, she is an analytical person who asserts she can and will be fair and impartial. She understands she is required to render “a verdict based on the facts.” She is not good for the defense but Nelson passed her for cause because he has a limited number of peremptory strikes and an unfavorable jury pool with which to contend.
Judge Cahill announced that the parties had agreed to the release of prospective jurors 58, 80, 81, 84, 93, 94, and 100 for cause. Twenty-three of the first 100 prospective jurors have accordingly been released for cause by agreement of the parties. It is representative of the venue problem that permeates the case.
Understanding the interest in the jury, Judge Cahill authorized release of the following information on the seven jurors seated so far.
· No. 2: white male; 20s
· No. 9: multi/mixed race woman; 20s
· No. 19: white male; 30s
· No. 20: white male; 30s
· No. 27: black male; 30s
· No. 36: Hispanic male; 20s
· No. 44: white woman; 50s
Our friends at Justice & Drew at KTLK 1130 AM/103.5 FM have deputized me as their correspondent on the case. I appeared for a segment each morning this week at 8:00 a.m. Producer Samantha Sansevere kindly clipped the audio of these segments and posted them here. Yesterday morning Howard Root joined us. Given Howard’s personal experience as a criminal defendant, I thought it was a particularly lively segment. I have embedded it below.