Jury selection for Derek Chauvin's trial in George Floyd's killing is set to begin Tuesday. Here's how to watch and what to expect.

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Haven Orecchio-Egresitz,Jacob Shamsian
·7 min read
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derek chauvin
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via AP
  • Jury selection for Derek Chauvin's trial in the death of George Floyd is set to begin Tuesday.

  • Floyd's death in May 2020 sparked worldwide protests over racism and police brutality.

  • Here's what to expect from the trial and how to keep track as it unfolds.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer facing murder charges after kneeling on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes until he died, is set to kick off soon.

Floyd's death sparked international outrage and protests against racism and police brutality. Widely circulated video from the scene in May 2020 showed Chauvin pinning Floyd's neck with his knee as Floyd begged for help.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. He has said through his attorney that he acted within his duties and training on the day that Floyd died.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday morning, but Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill put it on hold. Cahill was waiting for a state Court of Appeals decision about whether Chauvin should be charged with third-degree murder in addition to the second-degree murder and manslaughter charges he currently faces.

Cahill had dismissed the third-degree charge in October.

Jury selection is expected to resume Tuesday, unless the Court of Appeals orders the trial to be halted.

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How to watch the trial live

The Hennepin County Court has allowed Court TV to livestream the proceedings. Two pool reporters will also be allowed in the courtroom during the trial.

Members of the public can watch it live, starting with jury selection as soon as Tuesday, on Court TV's website and on a variety of streaming services.

Jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. each day.

Other local and national news outlets may also broadcast the recording.

What to expect during Chauvin's trial and who the key players are

Once selected, a jury will decide whether Chauvin is guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.

The other three police officers involved are scheduled to have their own trial in August, on charges of aiding and abetting Floyd's death. Prosecutors initially also charged Chauvin with third-degree murder in June, but Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill dismissed it.

Matthew Frank, assistant attorney general in the Minnesota state Attorney General's office, is leading the prosecution. Keith Ellison, the state's top prosecutor, has also appeared in court and is expected to play a role in the prosecution.

Prosecutors will seek to convince the jury that Chauvin's actions pinning Floyd's neck led to his death and amounted to second-degree murder and manslaughter.

"The defendant placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd's head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, 'I can't breathe' multiple times and repeatedly said, 'Mama' and 'please,' as well," prosecutors wrote in charging documents. "At one point, Mr. Floyd said 'I'm about to die.' The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions."

matthew frank derek chauvin prosecutor
Minneapolis, MN June 8: Prosecutor Matthew Frank arrived at the Hennepin County Jail court for the hearing for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Chauvin is represented by Eric J. Nelson, an attorney at the Minnesota-based Halberg Criminal Defense firm. His legal team is also getting assistance from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, according to US News & World Report.

Previous court filings suggest the defense team will argue that Chauvin's actions were consistent with the Minneapolis Police Department's protocols and that Floyd possibly died because of other biological factors aside from Chauvin's actions.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. starting Monday, but the first day was delayed as attorneys sought guidance from the state appeals court on whether to reinstate the third-degree murder charge.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the judge is limiting the number of spectators permitted in the Hennepin County courtroom. Jurors and other participants in the trial have been ordered to keep their masks on and remain six feet apart while the trial progresses.

Only one member of Floyd's family at a time will be allowed in the courtroom, according to NBC News.

Jury selection could take up to three weeks, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the trial itself is expected to take another two to four weeks after that.

A test for the criminal justice system

george floyd derek chauvin trial protests
People gather around a mock casket meant to symbolize George Floyd during a rally the day before jury selection was scheduled to begin for Chauvin's trial. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Grand juries in two other prominent cases, for Breonna Taylor and Daniel Prude, chose to forego charges against police officers altogether. Chauvin wanted to plead guilty in the Floyd case, but US Attorney General Bill Barr blocked a plea deal in 2020, according to the Associated Press.

Chauvin's trial is seen by police reform advocates as a litmus test for how effectively the US criminal justice system can handle incidents of violence at the hands of police officers.

An acquittal in the case would likely ramp up public pressure to repeal or reform some of the legal protections police officers enjoy, such as qualified immunity.

How did George Floyd die?

George Floyd
George Floyd Courtesy of Philonise Floyd

On May 25, a clerk at a convenience store in downtown Minneapolis called police to respond after Floyd tried to pay with a $20 bill that turned out to be fake.

Chauvin arrived on the scene with fellow officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng.

First approached by Lane, Floyd began apologizing to the officer and insisted he didn't do anything wrong, according to body-camera transcripts filed in court obtained by TMZ.

Lane responded by swearing at Floyd, ordering him to "put your f---ing hands up right now!"

"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. God dang, man," Floyd responded, according to the transcript. "I got shot the same way, Mr. Officer, before."

During his interaction with police, Floyd was brought to the ground, where Chauvin held his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

During that time, Floyd repeated that he couldn't breathe, while Lane and Chauvin had a conversation about what kind of drugs they thought he might be on, according to the transcripts filed in court.

Chauvin, who had been on the police force for nearly 20 years, responded that Floyd was using "a lot of oxygen" to talk.

Harrowing footage of the killing was caught by a bystander's camera and showed Floyd as he went limp while pinned by Chauvin's knee. He was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital.

The next day, Chauvin, Lane, Kueng, and Thao were fired.

Four days after the killing, Chauvin was charged with murder, and the three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting in the incident.

It was later reported that citizens had made 18 complaints against Chauvin during his career, 16 of which were dismissed with no action.

Floyd's death sparked anti-racism protests worldwide

George Floyd mural in Denver
Companies have stepped up their diversity efforts after a surge of support for the Black Lives Matter movement Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Almost immediately after footage of the killing spread online, Minneapolis was swept by protests calling for an end to police brutality.

With national movements pushing back against implicit and explicit racism already brewing, Floyd's death sparked further activism, rallies, and unrest across the US - and eventually the world - throughout the summer.

The killings and maiming of other black men and women - including Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, and Jacob Blake - fueled more protests and calls for reform.

At the national level, last week the House passed a bill to ban chokeholds and racial profiling in policing. It's called the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

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