Opening arguments are set to begin Monday in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officers Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd, after weeks of jury selection.
The jury selection process in the high-profile trail was marred with controversy after the city of Minneapolis awarded Floyd’s family $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit during the criminal proceedings.
Earlier this week, the attorney for Derek Chauvin requested that the ex-Minneapolis Police officer’s trial be moved from Hennepin County due to the risk of a prejudiced jury.
“You have elected officials — the governor, the mayor — making incredibly prejudicial statements about my client, this case,” Eric Nelson told Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill. “You have the city settling a civil lawsuit for a record amount of money. And the pre-trial publicity is just so concerning.”
After the family of George Floyd received a $27 million settlement Friday from the city of Minneapolis stemming from his death in police custody, the attorney for the police officer charged in Floyd’s death is asking for a continuance in the jury selection process.
“Defense attorney Eric Nelson expressed deep concern that jurors already chosen and those yet to be chosen will be prejudiced should they learn of the settlement, thereby denying his client his right to a fair trial,” The Star Tribune reported.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill Thursday overturned his own decision to drop third-degree murder charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after an appeal from state prosecutors.
“The dispute over the third-degree murder charge revolved around wording in the law that references an act ’eminently dangerous to others,'” Spectrum News reported. “Cahill’s initial decision to dismiss the charge had noted that Chauvin’s conduct might be construed as not dangerous to anyone but Floyd.”