The Trial in the Case of George Floyd

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MINNEAPOLIS—As the trial of a former police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd nears, Minneapolis is launching a massive security effort to try to prevent a repeat of the rioting and looting that took hold of the city last summer.

Activist groups like Black Lives Matter have said they plan to protest peacefully during the trial but can’t rule out the possibility of civil unrest breaking out in the event of an acquittal. Minnesota Public Safety Director John Harrington said in a briefing Monday that he is coordinating with federal officials to monitor the possibility of extremist groups trying to disrupt the trial but that there is no known imminent threat.

Barricades and barbed wire are rising in the area around the Hennepin County Courthouse, where jury selection in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin is set to begin Monday.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the city has been working for months with state and Minnesota National Guard officials on a plan to deploy a peak total of 2,000 guard members and 1,100 police officers, including many from other jurisdictions, when the jury starts deliberating in mid-to-late April.
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Contractors put a 12-foot fence up around the perimeter of the courthouse on Feb. 26.​

City leaders were forced to call for help from the National Guard under duress during last summer’s mass protests, which devolved into nights of rioting and looting in commercial corridors across the city and the surrender and destruction of a Minneapolis police station. This time, officials say, they have had months to prepare and are vowing to maintain order while allowing peaceful protests as the city faces what leaders are calling a historic challenge.

“This will be the culmination of a yearlong barrage of trauma to our city, especially our Black and brown residents,” Mr. Frey said in an interview. “Safety has to be our top priority.”
The city’s plans include community outreach and improved communication, but some City Council members say the reliance on such a heavy police and National Guard presence could add to tensions. “I don’t think that we can police our way out of police violence,” council President Lisa Bender said in a public hearing Monday.
In widely circulated video footage, Mr. Floyd can be seen facedown on the ground and losing consciousness as Mr. Chauvin placed a knee on his neck for around eight minutes, as three other former officers assisted.

Police Body-Camera Footage Reveals New Details of George Floyd Killing

Police Body-Camera Footage Reveals New Details of George Floyd Killing

Police Body-Camera Footage Reveals New Details of George Floyd Killing
Body cameras that Minneapolis police officers wore during their Memorial Day interaction with George Floyd revealed new details of the incident, which escalated quickly and resulted in the killing of Mr. Floyd. Photo: Minneapolis Police Department
The county medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, and listed the cause as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” The county autopsy also indicated Mr. Floyd suffered from heart disease and had drugs in his system.
The defense has argued that the drugs and heart disease caused Mr. Floyd’s death, noting the medical examiner found no evidence of injury to his neck and back.
Mr. Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder—unintentional, while committing a felony—and second-degree manslaughter. The other three former officers have been charged with abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, and are expected to face trial in August. Lawyers for all four have made filings indicating they aren’t guilty.
As workers boarded up windows and erected security barriers around government buildings in downtown Minneapolis last week, a coalition of 17 activist groups vowed a large-scale protest on Monday and a sustained presence throughout the trial.

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The George Floyd memorial site in Minneapolis, near the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street on Feb. 26.​

“Their justice, their safety is putting up barricades and hindering our First Amendment right for public assembly and protest,” said Angela Rose Myers, president of the Minneapolis branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “We are not here to hinder justice, we are here to deliver justice.”
Trahern Crews, founder and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Minnesota, said he hopes for a peaceful outcome but didn’t rule out the possibility of unrest returning in Minneapolis and possibly elsewhere if Mr. Chauvin is acquitted.
“The whole country is watching right now,” Mr. Crews said in an interview. “And I believe the majority of the country wants to see justice for George Floyd.”
Mr. Floyd’s killing sparked an outpouring of protests around the world and civil unrest in major U.S. cities. Some 1,500 businesses in Minneapolis were affected, sustaining around $1 billion in damage, said Jonathan Weinhagen, president and chief executive of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.
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Boarded-up businesses in downtown Minneapolis last week.​

The city has encouraged small-business owners who are concerned about looting to consider boarding up windows, adding other security measures and storing important documents off-site or in the cloud.
“Of course we’re nervous,” said Tawfiq Wazwaz, manager of AM Gift Shop, which sells groceries and tobacco along with gift items about a mile from the courthouse.

He said the store was damaged several times during the riots last summer. He hired round-the-clock security for a time and installed metal bars and gates.
“We spent tens of thousands of dollars and still we feel insecure,” he said. “We don’t want what happened in the past to happen again.”
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Mohammed Wazwaz at the fortified entrance to his gift, food and tobacco shop in Minneapolis.​

Mr. Weinhagen of the chamber of commerce said there is concern about what will happen if the jury fails to convict Mr. Chauvin, but he praised the extensive security planning.
“We really want to make sure that the progress we’ve made in the last 10 months toward rebuilding and transforming—we don’t take a step back from that and see further devastation,” he said.

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Officials said the extensive planning includes highly visible patrols of commercial corridors by police backed up by National Guard troops. Multiple mobile field teams will be dispatched to trouble spots around the city. Any deployment of gas or other nonlethal methods of crowd dispersal must be approved directly by the chief under a court order, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said.
Mr. Frey said the luxury of time will make a huge difference compared with the summer. “We were encountering decisions where all the answers were bad,” he said. Now, after eight months to prepare, “you can plan for a number of different circumstances that may or may not arise. And we can have personnel and assistance immediately on hand.”
 
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Derek Chauvin Could Face Third-Degree Murder Charge, Appeals Court Rules​

Court sends matter in George Floyd case back to the District Court; effect on start of trial unclear​



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The George Floyd memorial site in Minneapolis.​

PHOTO: JENN ACKERMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
By


A Minnesota Appellate Court said Friday that a lower court must reconsider whether to add a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged in the death of George Floyd in police custody.
The ruling raised some doubts about whether jury selection would begin Monday in the Chauvin murder trial.
Eric Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, said he expected jury selection to go ahead as planned on Monday, but declined to comment on whether he planned to appeal Friday’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.
Mr. Chauvin is facing more serious charges of second-degree murder—unintentional, while committing a felony—and second-degree manslaughter. Three other former officers have been charged with abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, and are expected to face trial in August. Lawyers for all four have made filings indicating they aren’t guilty.

The state had initially moved to charge Mr. Chauvin with an additional count of third-degree murder, which involves a reckless act that threatens the lives of others. Judge Peter Cahill in October dismissed the charge on grounds that the statute applies only when more than one person is threatened by the act.
On Feb. 1, the Appellate Court issued a decision on a third-degree murder charge in a shooting case by another officer, finding that the reckless act could apply even when only one person was threatened.

Judge Cahill later that month rejected a prosecution motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge, saying the ruling didn’t apply to the Chauvin case because it could still be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The state’s highest court did later accept the appeal.
The Appellate Court on Friday rejected Judge Cahill’s argument and said that Judge Cahill must accept the Appellate Court’s decision as precedent when it was issued. Still, Judge Cahill might ultimately reject a third-degree murder charge if the defense puts forth a different argument, according to the Appellate Court opinion.
The county medical examiner ruled Mr. Floyd’s death a homicide, and listed the cause as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” The county autopsy also indicated Mr. Floyd suffered from heart disease and had drugs in his system.

The defense has argued that the drugs and heart disease caused Mr. Floyd’s death, noting the medical examiner found no evidence of injury to his neck and back.

Corrections & Amplifications

A Minnesota appellate court on Friday directed a lower court to reconsider its ruling dismissing third-degree murder charges against Derek Chauvin. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the appeals court had reinstated third-degree murder charges against Mr. Chauvin. (Corrected on March 5.)
 
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Jury Selection to Start as George Floyd Case Opens

Finding jurors with an open mind about former police officer Derek Chauvin won’t be easy in highly divisive case

In First Trial in George Floyd’s Death, Lawyers Face Jury-Selection Challenge​

Finding jurors with an open mind about former police officer Derek Chauvin won’t be easy in highly divisive case​



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Fencing fortified Government Plaza in Minneapolis on Feb. 26, near where the trial of Derek Chauvin is to take place.​

PHOTO: JENN ACKERMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
By
Joe Barrett
March 7, 2021 1:38 pm ET

The murder trial of the former officer charged in the death of George Floyd is expected to open Monday with a major challenge: finding 12 jurors in greater Minneapolis who haven’t already made up their minds about the case.

The widely seen video of a handcuffed and prone Mr. Floyd begging for his life as Derek Chauvin, then a Minneapolis police officer, holds him down with a knee on his neck unleashed a summer of protest and racial reckoning across the country. Minneapolis was particularly hard hit by protests, looting and the destruction of a police precinct.

If finding acceptable jurors becomes especially difficult, that could renew efforts by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyers to seek a change of venue from Minneapolis, said Richard Frase, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. Jury selection is expected to take two weeks, a significant period of time for a process that usually takes less than a day in lower-profile cases.
“It’s going to be hard,” Prof. Frase said.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS​

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Still, he noted, more than half of the residents of Hennepin County live outside Minneapolis, some on farms and other less-populated areas. “So you could get some people who say they don’t pay much attention to what happens in Minneapolis,” he said.

The two sides have already asked prospective jurors to answer a 14-page set of questions that lays out the contours of their task. Questions include: Describe everything you have heard about the case. How do you get your news? How do you feel about Black Lives Matter? How do you feel about Blue Lives Matter? And can you apply the principle of innocent until proven guilty?
“The question is, whatever you’ve heard about this case, and whatever you’ve thought about it—can you put that aside and base your decision only on the evidence that you hear as a juror?” said Ron Wright, associate dean for research and academic programs at Wake Forest University’s law school. “And saying the magic words, ‘Yes, I can do that,’ won’t be enough. They’re going to talk to the jurors, and they’re going to try to get what they believe is a real answer to that question.”

Mr. Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder—unintentional, while committing a felony—and second-degree manslaughter. Three other former officers have been charged with abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter and are expected to face trial in August. Lawyers for all four have made filings indicating they aren’t guilty.

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The George Floyd memorial site in Minneapolis last month.​

PHOTO: JENN ACKERMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

On Friday, a state appellate court said the judge must also reconsider his decision about whether to reinstate a third-degree murder charge. That could be a cause to delay but, so far, no motions have been filed to do so.
The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Mr. Floyd’s May 25 death a homicide, and listed the cause as cardiopulmonary arrest along with “law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” The county autopsy also indicated Mr. Floyd suffered from heart disease and had drugs in his system.

The defense has argued that the drugs and heart disease caused Mr. Floyd’s death, noting that the medical examiner found no evidence of injury to his neck and back.
Judge Peter Cahill has issued a series of orders to protect the jury’s anonymity, including identifying them by number, removing any identifying material from the questionnaire and shepherding them into the courtroom out of public view.

HEADING TOWARD TRIAL​


Prosecutors and defense lawyers will each be able to eliminate prospective jurors for almost any reason, with what is known as a peremptory challenge. The defense will get 15 peremptory challenges, and the prosecution has nine, according to court filings.
The other side can object if they think the real basis for the challenge is race, which has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Both sides can also ask the judge to strike jurors “for cause” if, for instance, they seem too biased to render an impartial verdict.
Eventually, the two sides will settle on 12 jurors and four alternates before arguments in the trial get under way March 29. The trial itself is expected to take two to four weeks.
Melissa Mordell Gomez, a jury consultant and author of the book “Jury Trials Outside In,” said one challenge for the lawyers might be sussing out prospective jurors with strong opinions who try to appear more open-minded than they are, a dynamic that has appeared in some other high-profile cases.
“This might be one of those cases where you have people who feel strongly on either side who are intentionally going to walk that line to try to stay on,” she said.

Police Body-Camera Footage Reveals New Details of George Floyd Killing

Police Body-Camera Footage Reveals New Details of George Floyd Killing
Footage from body cameras worn by Minneapolis police officers during their Memorial Day encounter with George Floyd revealed new details of the incident, which escalated quickly and resulted in the killing of Mr. Floyd.

Photo: Minneapolis Police Department
 
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In George Floyd Death Trial, Prosecutors Seek Delay​

Minnesota lawyers say state Supreme Court must rule first on third-degree murder charge for former officer Derek Chauvin​



What to Know About Derek Chauvin’s Trial, First in George Floyd’s Death

What to Know About Derek Chauvin’s Trial, First in George Floyd’s Death
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is being tried for second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday highlights how prosecutors and the defense may present their case. Photo: Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters
By
Joe Barrett
and Deena Winter
Updated March 8, 2021 4:40 pm ET


MINNEAPOLIS—Jury selection in the murder trial of a former police officer accused of killing George Floyd was on hold Monday after prosecutors filed for a delay pending an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court over an additional charge of third-degree murder.

It wasn’t immediately clear how quickly the Minnesota Court of Appeals would take to consider the motion to delay the start of the high-profile case, which has brought tight security measures and protesters to downtown Minneapolis.
District Judge Peter Cahill, who is overseeing the trial, sent prospective jurors home for the day Monday but held an afternoon hearing during which the two sides went over a number of pretrial conditions. The prosecution and defense said that they had agreed to eliminate 16 of the first 50 prospective jurors but didn’t say why.

The judge said he expected jury selection to continue Tuesday unless the Court of Appeals intervenes.

On Friday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals said Judge Cahill must reconsider his decision to exclude the third-degree murder charge. Eric Nelson, the attorney for the former officer on trial, Derek Chauvin, said in court Monday that he planned to appeal that ruling to the state’s highest court.

Matthew Frank, Minnesota’s assistant attorney general, said the third-degree murder charge, if ultimately included, would be integral to how prosecutors present their case, beginning with jury selection. Mr. Frank asked the Court of Appeals to delay the trial until the third-degree murder issue was resolved.

“We’re not trying to delay this case. We want to try this case, but we want to try it right and we only have the ability to try it once,” he told Judge Cahill Monday morning. Mr. Frank said that proceeding without a resolution of the matter could open the case up to an appeal later, or simply waste the court’s time.

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Derek Chauvin listened to court proceedings on Monday in Minneapolis.​

PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jury selection was expected to last at least two weeks, with opening arguments scheduled for March 29. The trial itself is expected to take two to four weeks.

Mr. Chauvin is facing more serious charges of second-degree murder—unintentional, while committing a felony—and second-degree manslaughter. Three other former officers have been charged with abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, and are expected to face trial in August. Lawyers for all four have made filings indicating they aren’t guilty.
The state had initially charged Mr. Chauvin with third-degree murder, which involves a reckless act that threatens the lives of others. The state later added the second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Judge Cahill in October dismissed the third-degree charge on grounds that the statute applies only when more than one person is threatened by the act.

DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL​


On Feb. 1, the Court of Appeals issued a decision on a third-degree murder charge in a shooting case by another officer, former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, finding that the reckless act could apply even when only one person was threatened.
Judge Cahill later that month rejected a prosecution motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge, saying the ruling didn’t apply to the Chauvin case because it could still be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The state’s highest court did later accept the appeal by attorneys for Mr. Noor, who was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The appellate court on Friday rejected Judge Cahill’s argument and said that Judge Cahill must accept the Appellate Court’s decision as precedent when it was issued. Still, Judge Cahill might ultimately reject a third-degree murder charge if the defense puts forth a different argument, according to the appellate court’s opinion.

The county medical examiner ruled Mr. Floyd’s death a homicide, and listed the cause as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” The county autopsy also indicated Mr. Floyd suffered from heart disease and had drugs in his system.

The defense has argued that the drugs and heart disease caused Mr. Floyd’s death, noting the medical examiner found no evidence of injury to his neck and back.

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Soldiers on Monday guarded the Minneapolis courthouse where Mr. Chauvin will be tried.​

PHOTO: KEREM YÜCEL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The potential delay in the trial comes as many government buildings downtown have been boarded up or walled off with jersey barriers and barbed wire. As many as 2,000 National Guard troops and 1,100 police officers will be on hand toward the end of the trial to try to prevent the possibility of rioting and looting, which took hold of the city last summer.
Protesters were also planning demonstrations to coincide with the start of jury selection.

J. Morey, 17, a Maryland native who moved to Minneapolis to attend college, skateboarded to the courthouse before 8 a.m., wearing a GoPro on his helmet and an “abolish police” cardboard sign on his backpack. He said he planned to protest at the trial as often as he can in between school and work.

“It’s not about hoping that Chauvin gets convicted but just recognizing that the system will never let him get convicted,” Mr. Morey said. “That policing and prison systems and the legal system in America—they’re all set up to defend each other, so we’re here to protest the way that the system is set up.”

Write to Joe Barrett at joseph.barrett@wsj.com
 
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Derek Chauvin Trial Judge Reinstates Third-Degree Murder Charge in Death of George Floyd​

Decision ends threat that trial could face a delay; five jurors have been chosen so far​



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A George Floyd memorial in Minneapolis. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in connection with Mr. Floyd’s death.​

PHOTO: CHANDAN KHANNA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
By
Joe Barrett
Updated March 11, 2021 10:08 am ET


MINNEAPOLIS—A Hennepin County judge reinstated a charge of third-degree murder against the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, resolving an issue that threatened to put the case on hold.

A legal battle over the charge has been playing out this week in the case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter over Mr. Floyd’s death last May.
The prosecution had been seeking a delay in the case while the matter of a third-degree charge played out at the state Supreme Court level. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear a defense appeal over the charge, allowing District Court Judge Peter Cahill to hear arguments on the matter Thursday.

After hearing from both sides, Judge Cahill quickly ruled that he was reinstating the charge, accepting a state Court of Appeals ruling that it did apply in the Chauvin case.

Jury selection began Tuesday. Five jurors have now been seated in the case and jury selection will continue Thursday.
The case is the first stemming from the May 25 death of Mr. Floyd. In a widely circulated video, Mr. Floyd can be seen facedown on the ground and losing consciousness as Mr. Chauvin places a knee on his neck for around 8 minutes and three other officers assist him.
 

AkPatsFan

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Potential jurors are terrified of being doxed and their families threatened, can't say that I blame them.


And some truth you won't be hearing from the leftist MSM.

 
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Inspector_50

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Potential jurors are terrified of being doxed and their families threatened, can't say that I blame them.


And some truth you won't be hearing from the leftist MSM.
For you to have watched that video and say those police officers were not responsible for his death is appalling.
 

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Despite the popular opinion, I don't think this is a slam dunk guilty verdict. Much of the evidence has not been seen.
Yeah, all they have is a video of the accused with his knee on a man's neck who is screaming he cannot breath until he dies. Not going to make that flimsy stuff stick.
 
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deec77

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Despite the popular opinion, I don't think this is a slam dunk guilty verdict. Much of the evidence has not been seen.


The autopsy for one, which is why the third degree charge has been added.....

~Dee~
 

king of kings

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Despite the popular opinion, I don't think this is a slam dunk guilty verdict. Much of the evidence has not been seen.
The video disagress. That clearly shows him kneeing on his neck. Which was the cause of death. His actions cost the city 27 mill dollars to victims family.
 

Coltsfan2theend

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I think he is guilty of something for the knee to neck for minutes. That being said, I don't know what.Out of all the cops charged with crimes related to people they interacted with, this one is the one who I think should be guilty of something related to the incident. There was excessive actions taken but Floyd wasn't exactly helping his situation any the moment he resisted. Was that a reason to do what they did for as long as they did, no.
 
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