Jury selection in the highly anticipated trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd, is set to begin Monday.
Here's a look at what you need to know as the trial is set to begin:
There was some uncertainty if the trial would continue as scheduled following a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling on Friday that orders Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill to reconsider reinstating a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin.
On Monday morning, the first day of the trial, Cahill said jury selection would continue as scheduled despite Chauvin's attorney planning to petition the state Supreme Court regarding the appeals court's ruling.
However, potential jurors were sent home Monday morning as the court seeks direction from the appeals court regarding if jury selection can proceed while they await the Supreme Court's opinion.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's May 25, 2020, death.
Chauvin could also be charged with third-degree murder but it could be a month before that's known as Chauvin's attorney is petitioning the state Supreme Court on the matter.
He is being tried separately from the other three former officers involved — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — who were each charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They will be tried together, with their trial scheduled to begin in August.
The trial is being held in Courtroom 1856 at the Hennepin County Government Center, at 300 S 6th St., in downtown Minneapolis, which is closed to the public during the trial for safety reasons.
If the trial doesn't get delayed, it is set to begin at 8 a.m. daily with Judge Cahill hearing preliminary motions, then moving onto jury selection at 9 a.m. Jury selection is set to take three weeks.
Opening statements are currently scheduled for March 29.
Who's who in the courtroom
A limited number of people are allowed in the courtroom during Chauvin's trial due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are:
- Hennepin County Court Judge Peter Cahill, who is the trial judge overseeing the case against Chauvin.
- Matthew Frank with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office is handling the prosecution after Attorney General Keith Ellison's office took over the prosecution from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office. Frank and up to three others can be in the courtroom.
- Attorney Eric J. Nelson, who is representing Chauvin, and other members of the defense team (up to four people)
- Derek Chauvin, the defendant.
- The jury (up to 16 jurors, with four serving as alternates — the exact number will be determined during jury selection).
- One member of George Floyd's family can be present in the courtroom each day.
- One member of Chauvin's family or one of his supporters can be present in the courtroom each day.
Two members of the news media, a court reporter, and an audio/video technician will also be present. Other members of the news media will be observing the trial from across the street in a media business center, where they can watch a pool feed of the proceedings.
How to watch
Court TV will be streaming the trial live starting Monday, with other local and national media outlets also expected to stream the proceedings.
Safety precautions, road closures
The City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County have spent about $1 million on "fortifications," like perimeter fencing and barricades, around government buildings, police precincts and Minneapolis City Hall.
Meanwhile, local and state law enforcement have established Operation Safety Net, which aims to ensure people can participate in non-violent protests while preventing damage and destruction that was seen following Floyd's death last summer.
Part of this public safety response involves thousands of law enforcement, including Minnesota National Guard members, in the city, especially in areas that were badly damaged last summer.
The city will also be closing some roads (Sixth Street South between Third and Fourth avenues has been closed since March 1) and Metro Transit routes could be detoured as the trial progresses.
The trial and what is happening in the community during the trial will be heavily reported by local, state, national and international news outlets.
Meanwhile, the City of Minneapolis has launched a webpage dedicated to safety during the trial, with information on street closures, business and property safety, resident safety, security precautions, mental health resources, and where to report suspicious activity.
Operation Safety Net has a website and social media channels with information on public safety response before, during and after the trial.