Final juror selected in Derek Chauvin murder trial; opening statements to begin Monday

The 15th and final juror was selected on Tuesday in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minnesota police officer accused of placing his knee on George Floyd’s neck until he died.

The Star Tribune reported that opening statements will start on Monday. Despite having a complete jury pool, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said the larger juror pool is still held to the oath they took until Monday.

Twelve jurors will decide Chauvin’s fate. Two alternates will be present for the trial, while a third alternative will be dismissed on Monday if all jurors show up for court on Monday. The remaining two alternates will be dismissed before deliberations, according to USA Today.

The jurors’ identities will remain private throughout the trial.

The Star Tribune reported that the jury pool is comprised of two Black men in their 30s, a Black man in his 40s, a Black woman in her 60s, a multiracial woman in her 20s, a multiracial woman in her 40s, two white men in their 20s, a white woman in her 20s, a white man in his 30s, a white woman in her 40s, and four white women in their 50s.

Chauvin, 44, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 46, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes.

Floyd was heard gasping for air and saying he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and died.

While Hennepin County’s autopsy report stated that there was no evidence “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” an independent autopsy asserted that sustained forceful pressure on Floyd’s neck and back led to his death. Both reports mentioned drugs in Floyd’s system but concluded his death was a homicide.

Chauvin is being tried separately from three other former officers who responded to the call, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34. The trio is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death. Their joint trial is expected to begin this summer.

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