Updates on the George Floyd Case
Derek Chauvin, one of the Minneapolis police officers responsible for the murder of George Floyd, is finally being tried. In the internet video that chronicles George Floyd’s murder, Chauvin can be seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck until the latter takes his final breath. Currently, Chauvin was only being charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degress manslaughter, to which he has pleaded guilty. However, third-degree murder, manslaughter, and felony murder have also been added by the judge for the trial, Peter Cahill. Each of these charges are separate, meaning that Chauvin could be convicted of all, some, or none of them; they would each result in different sentences. Chauvin is being tried separately from the other three officers involved with the murder.
Both the Floyd family and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, are thrilled that these charges have been added to Chauvin’s trial. In addition to the possibility of justice being served to Floyd’s killer, a $27 million settlement was approved by the Minneapolis CIty Council last week. The council approved the settlement unanimously. The settlement is for the civil rights lawsuit that the Floyd family filed against the officers involved with George Floyd’s death and the city of Minneapolis. While money will never reverse the tragedy this family has been through, George Floyd’s brother, Rodney, states that he and his family view the settlement as, “a necessary step for all of us to begin to get some closure.”
Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, claims that the $27 million settlement should be more than enough to support George Floyd’s young daughter, Gianna, for the entirety of her life. Gianna is currently six years old. It has already been decided that $500,000 of the settlement will be put towards the enhancement of the business district near the site of Floyd’s death. In his honor, the Minneapolis CIty Council named the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue (near where Floyd passed away) ‘George Floyd Square.’
As of March 17th, nine jurors have been seated for the upcoming trial of Derek Chauvin. However, upon news of the settlement for the Floyd family, Chauvin’s attorney requested that the jurors be recalled and questioned about how the news of this settlement would impact their decision and if they had any information about it. Only two jurors were dismissed after being questioned, leaving seven remaining. Both of the dismissed jurors claimed that the sudden knowledge of the settlement would make it difficult for their decisions to remain impartial.
Of the seven sitting jurors, four are men and three are women. The jury is overwhelmingly white at this time. Four of the seven are white, two are black, and one is multiracial. Seven jurors are still needed, as well as two alternates, so there is still a chance for the jury to grow more and more diverse. The search for jurors who will be neutral in mind during the trial and keep their personal biases at bay has proven difficult for Judge Cahill. During questioning, a number of possible jurors have admitted their biases on the basis of race or their relationships with the criminal justice system. At least they have been straightforward rather than masking their prejudices and using them to make their decisions during the trial.
Currently, the trial is expected to begin on March 29th with opening arguments.