“I can’t un-see what I saw.” —Dismissed juror in the Derek Chauvin trial
On day four of jury deliberations in the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, only one juror was selected. Juror #36 was described as White—and possibly Hispanic—and in his 20s. I definitely detected a Spanish accent.
Though he is likely Latino, he said in his voir dire with the state prosecutor Matthew Frank that he disagreed with the proposition that police are biased against minorities. He told Franks that the media has manufactured much of this idea.
But he also admitted that he has not experienced it, and so from his perspective, it’s not an issue.
The Batson Challenge (see Mary Moriarty’s latest MSR Legal Insight column)
The prosecution raised a Batson challenge after one Latino prospective juror was released with a
preemptive strike by the defense. Judge Cahill dismissed the challenge saying that the
prosecution apparently is not trying to strike minorities because three out of the six jurors are
People of Color.
Women prospective jurors unyielding
Juror #37 was a Black woman who seemed to be part of the African American community.
When Judge Cahill asked her if she could put everything she thought she knew about the case aside, she
responded, “No, not the facts.”
She also told the judge that she couldn’t “un-see what she saw,” with regards to the video of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for close to nine minutes.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson could barely hide that she was not a juror he wanted to seat. He
said to her four times that “we want to make sure you are the right juror for this case.” Emphasis
on right juror.
Juror #41 was a young White woman who said, “I don’t think I can be impartial. I feel strongly
that there is a high-level of evidence. I have formed an opinion; it is ingrained in my head.”
She did not budge when pressed by the judge and Nelson. She said she had made up her mind and it wasn’t going to change, alluding to her feeling that Chauvin was guilty.
Oddly, the prosecution sounded like the defense posing the question that if the evidence, based on
the law indicated that she should acquit the defendant, she answered again “no.”
She said she worked with under-served kids and her participation would be a betrayal to them.
A total of six people came before the court and only one juror was selected.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.