Minneapolis braces for spotlight again as Chauvin trial to begin

Minneapolis braces for spotlight again as Chauvin trial to begin
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Jamie Yuccas
·2 min read
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Minneapolis — Nearly a year after George Floyd died, the people of Minneapolis are still demanding justice and the city is once again in the spotlight. Opening arguments are set to begin Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was seen in a disturbing video kneeling on George Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes during a fatal May 2020 arrest.

It took 11 days to pick 12 jurors and three alternates. There are nine women and six men. Of those, nine are White, four are Black and two that identify as multiracial. It's a surprisingly diverse panel for a county that is about 75% White.

Floyd's death sparked protests here that spread across the country and the world. Most were peaceful, but Minneapolis still bears the scars of the looting and destruction.

How to watch opening statements in the trial of Derek Chauvin

The area around the courthouse is fortified with fences, razor wire and National Guard soldiers.

In the middle of jury selection, the city settled a lawsuit filed from Floyd's family for $27 million.

"It sends a message that the unjust taking of Black life will no longer be written off as trivial, unimportant or unworthy of consequences," said Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family.

Demonstrators rally in front of the Hennepin County Government Center on March 28, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. / Credit: BRANDON BELL / Getty Images
Demonstrators rally in front of the Hennepin County Government Center on March 28, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. / Credit: BRANDON BELL / Getty Images

The defense asked for the trial to be moved and delayed, but Judge Peter Cahill ruled the trial would go on as planned.

The judge also had to reinstate a third-degree murder charge, giving prosecutors another chance to convict Chauvin.

Criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino said that "at this point" he believes Floyd will get a fair trial in Minneapolis.

"The jury has maintained that they could be fair and impartial," Tamburino said. "In terms of change of venue, there's really no place to put this case. Everybody knows about it. You could put this case at a town on the Canadian border and still people would know about it."

The trial is expected to last as long as a month, drawing out the anxiety that has hung over the city for almost a year.

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