Jury selection begins in Derek Chauvin trial in Floyd's death

Jury selection begins in Derek Chauvin trial in Floyd's death
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Jury selection began Tuesday morning in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd.

The process, which is expected to take at least a couple weeks, was slated to begin on Monday, but was delayed by Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill as he sought guidance from the Minnesota Court of Appeals on a pending additional charge against Chauvin.

The state appeals court on Friday ruled that Cahill should consider reinstating a third-degree murder charge that was initially brought forth against the Chauvin, but dismissed by the judge in October.

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Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Adding a third-degree murder charge would give the jury an additional option under which to convict Chauvin should they decide his actions didn't rise to second-degree murder.

Minnesota Attorney General and lead prosecutor Keith EllisonKeith EllisonAttorneys general looking into online fundraising practices Minnesota AG asks judge to acknowledge trauma of children who witnessed Floyd's death Sunday shows preview: Moderates, Biden reach deal on infrastructure; Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in prison MORE (D) filed a motion with the appellate court on Monday seeking to pause all aspects of the trial, including jury selection, until the matter is settled.

However, the court didn’t immediately respond to Ellison’s motion or Cahill’s inquiry, so the judge decided that juror proceedings could begin for the time being. 

If the third-degree murder charge is tacked back on, Chauvin has the option of appealing the decision to the state’s supreme court which could delay the trial by months. 

Floyd’s death sparked a nationwide movement calling for sweeping police reform and the snuffing out of systemic racism.

Graphic cellphone footage showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, even after Floyd was unconscious. Floyd pleaded with Chauvin multiple times, saying that he couldn’t breathe before becoming unresponsive; he was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. 

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He was 46.

Officials ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report revealing he died from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

The other former officers who were on the scene — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — all face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Cahill decided in November that the trio would stand trial together, but independent of Chauvin’s prosecution. Their trial is slated to start in August.