Two jurors who had been seated in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin have been dismissed after they saw news of the $27 million settlement between the city and George Floyd's family, admitting it altered their perception of the case.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill on Wednesday morning interviewed on Zoom the seven jurors who had been seated prior to the settlement announcement.
Four of the seven jurors had seen news of the settlement, and two of them said it may impact their ability to decide whether or not Chauvin is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They were dismissed.
The two who were dismissed include a Hispanic man in his 20s who said the settlement confirms the opinions he already had and would make it hard for him to be impartial. The other, a white man in his 20s, said the amount of the settlement swayed him a little bit, noting it sent the message that the city felt something was wrong and wanted to make it right.
Prior to the dismissal of the two jurors, nine jurors had been seated (the two seated on Tuesday has already been questioned about the settlement and were not involved in Wednesday morning's Zoom meeting).
The court needs 12 jurors plus at least two alternates ahead of opening statements, which are scheduled for March 29. So far, the defense has used 11 of 15 peremptory strikes and the prosecution has used five of their nine peremptory strikes.
The judge is also considering motions from Chauvin's lawyer to delay and move the trial. Cahill said he'd rule on those motions on Friday, noting the timing of Minneapolis' settlement is "unfortunate."
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd on May 25, 2020. The three other officers charged in the case are set to go to trial in August.