Closing statements concluded Monday afternoon in the trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. His fate is now in the hands of 12 jurors. They include a chemist, a youth volunteer, a cardiac nurse and an IT professional.
The group is more racially diverse than Hennepin County, Minn., as a whole: Six are white, four are Black, and two identify as multiracial. Five are men and seven are women.
Jury selection concluded March 23 after just over two weeks of questioning by Judge Peter Cahill and attorneys on both sides. The 15th juror was dismissed before opening statements began March 29. And the 13th and 14th jurors were told just after closing arguments ended that they are alternates.
Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s killing while in police custody.
Here’s what we know about the jurors who have been seated:
No. 2: White man, 20s
He described himself as a chemist and environmental studies scientist who said he typically views life through an analytical lens.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked him to expand on some of the answers he gave on his written questionnaire, particularly a question concerning Black Lives Matter.
“I support the message that every life should matter equally,” the juror said. “I don’t believe that the organization Black Lives Matter necessarily stands for that.”
The juror was also asked to expand on answers he gave about disparities in policing and about the criminal justice system. He said he doesn’t necessarily think Minneapolis police are more likely to use force against Black people than they would against others.
However, he said he believes the criminal justice system is biased against racial and ethnic minorities. He said there was a lot of evidence to support that opinion.
No. 9: Multi/mixed race woman, 20s
She described herself as easygoing, and a mediator among her friends.
In her questionnaire, she said she had somewhat negative impressions of Chauvin but that she could keep an open mind and be fair. She also said she believes the Black Lives Matter movement, along with Blue Lives Matter, has turned into a disingenuous marketing scheme for corporations.
She has an uncle who’s a police officer in central Minnesota but said that wouldn’t affect her opinion.
When the judge told her she was chosen, she said, “Awesome.”
No. 19: White man, 30s
He said he’s in client services and has had to resolve conflicts before.
In his questionnaire, he indicated that his view of Chauvin was “somewhat negative” because he didn’t resuscitate Floyd and that he supports Black Lives Matter in a general context. He also said he has some unfavorable views of Blue Lives Matter.
He said he has a “friend of a friend” who is a Minneapolis K-9 officer but that he hasn’t spoken to him about the case or seen him since the pandemic.
He said he’s seen the bystander video about two or three times, not in full, as part of news articles.
No. 27: Black man, 30s
He told the court he came to the United States 14 years ago, speaks multiple languages, works in information technology and is married.
Nelson asked the juror about an answer he provided on the written questionnaire about Floyd’s death. “And you said, ‘It could have been me or anyone else.’ Can you explain that a little?” Nelson asked.
“It could have been anybody. It could have been you,” the juror replied. “I also used to live not far from that area [38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis] when I first met my wife. So that is why I said it could have been me. It could have been anybody.”
Asked if he had any particular opinions about the Minneapolis Police Department or law enforcement in general, the man said he did not. The juror also said he felt somewhat supportive of both Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter.
“And you wrote that you believe ‘our cops need to be safe and feel and be safe to protect our community,’ ” Nelson read from the juror’s questionnaire. “Correct,” the juror said.
No. 44: White woman, 50s
The court held part of her questioning without audio while discussing a sensitive matter with the juror. She later said in her work for a nonprofit advocacy group, she’s had contact with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
When asked if she felt that would jeopardize her ability to be an impartial juror, she said no.
Nelson asked the juror about her answers on the jury questionnaire pertaining to the treatment of people of color by the criminal justice system.
“I do believe there’s bias,” the woman said. “I’ve seen it in my work.”
The woman also said she had formed a somewhat negative opinion of Chauvin. But she said she had sympathy and empathy, not only for Floyd, but for the officers involved.
“Everyone’s lives are changed by this incident and what happened. Everyone’s lives,” she said. “And it’s not easy. For anyone.”
No. 52: Black man, 30s
He said he works in the banking industry and is a youth sports coach.
In his questionnaire, he said he was neutral on Chauvin and Floyd. He said he had seen the video and has wondered why the other officers didn’t intervene.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher questioned one of the juror’s statements made during questioning by the defense. The man had said he didn’t think anyone had the intent to cause Floyd’s death.
Schleicher said Chauvin’s intentions would be contested during the trial and asked him if he’d have a problem setting aside his opinion.
“I don’t think it would be that difficult at all,” he said. “I think I can definitely look at it with an objective point of view.”
No. 55: White woman, 50s
She said she works in health care as an executive assistant.
The juror said she couldn’t watch the full video because she found it too disturbing.
She also said in her questionnaire she has a somewhat negative opinion of Chauvin but that he’s innocent until proven otherwise.
She said she has a somewhat unfavorable opinion of Black Lives Matter, acknowledging she perceives it possibly to mean that other lives don’t matter. She wrote on her questionnaire, “I believe all lives matter,” according to notes from the pool reporter.
No. 79: Black man, 40s
He said that he works in management capacity and that he has not formed an opinion about who is responsible for Floyd’s death.
In his questionnaire, he said he had a neutral opinion of Chauvin and a “somewhat positive” impression of Floyd.
He said he strongly disagreed with defunding police, noting that his house was burglarized once and he had to call the police. The man said he immigrated to the United States.
No. 85: Multi/mixed race woman, 40s
She said she works in organizational management.
In responses to the court, she said was always taught to respect police but added she wouldn’t have trouble second-guessing their decisions if needed.
“Police officers are human,” she said. “They’re not robots that are programmed to all behave in the exact same way. So I feel like as humans, they can make mistakes as well.”
No. 89: White woman, 50s
She said she’s a cardiac care nurse who lives in the suburbs.
She was questioned in depth about her medical training and whether she would second-guess police on resuscitation efforts. She was also asked whether she would reference her nursing experience during deliberations. She said she could avoid it and would not act as an expert during deliberations.
“I think I can be impartial and listen to instructions and go with what I’m given and ignore the outside stuff,” she said.
No. 91: Black woman, 60s
She said that she’s retired from a job in marketing and that she has a degree in psychology. She volunteers with underserved youth. She grew up in south Minneapolis near where Floyd died.
She said she watched a few minutes of the bystander video of Floyd’s arrest before shutting it off.
She has a relative who is a Minneapolis police officer but they are not close.
She said she believes Blacks and whites do not receive equal treatment, noting that a white U.S. Capitol riot suspect was allowed to go on vacation in Mexico after she was charged.
She said she doesn’t follow the news closely and does not know enough yet to judge the case one way or another.
No. 92: White woman, 40s
She said she works in communications and has been with the same company for 15 years.
She disagrees with defunding the police but believes change is needed based on what she’s seen in media coverage of racism.
She noted somewhat negative views of both Chauvin and Floyd, that she didn’t believe Floyd deserved to die, and that police used excessive force. But she also noted she didn’t think Floyd was innocent either, according to notes from a pool reporter.
She said she understands there are reasons people struggle with addiction.