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Jury reaches 7 in murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin

A 7th member was added to the jury Friday to hear the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last year while Floyd begged for life.

Floyd’s death was videotaped by bystanders, and the video’s release prompted nationwide protests and calls for revamping how police respond to non-violent crimes. Floyd had been accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune said the latest juror is a single mother and an executive in a nonprofit healthcare organization.

Four other prospective jurors were dismissed, including a former Army Reservist who said it seemed to him that witnesses to Floyd’s death escalated the situation while police officers tried to maintain control.

So far, attorneys have selected two women and five men for the jury. Four of the jurors are white, one is Black, one Hispanic, and one multiracial. By age, three of the jurors are in their 20s and three in their 30s, with the last in their 50s.

On Thursday, Judge Peter Cahill reinstated a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin, who is also charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of the unarmed man.

Also on Friday, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a $27 million settlement to a civil lawsuit filed by Floyd’s family. It’s the second multi-million settlement the council has approved to settle lawsuits over police shootings in two years. In 2019, the council agreed to a $20 million payout to the family of Justine Ruszczyk, who was shot and killed by Officer Mohamed Noor when she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault outside her home, KARE reported.

Noor was later convicted on charges of third degree murder and manslaughter.

Jury selection for Chauvin’s trial will continue on Monday. The process will ultimately pick 12 jurors and two alternates.

Three other former officers charged in Floyd’s death — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are scheduled to be tried together beginning in August.

Read more on this case on CrimeOnline.

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[Featured image: Derek Chauvin/Hennepin County jail; George Floyd; Facebook]