More than 300 potential jurors filled out a 14-page questionnaire that asked about their views on policing, protests, race and criminal justice, among other questions, and their answers showed the hurdles the defense must overcome in a case about which so much is widely known. Lawyers for the defense and the prosecution then questioned potential jurors one on one.
At least 10 of the 15 jurors and alternates chosen indicated that they had already formed a “somewhat negative” opinion of Mr. Chauvin. (The third alternate was dismissed on Monday.) But their views were nuanced — several said they had positive views of the police, but also believed that the criminal justice system was biased against Black people.
Juror No. 92, a white woman in her 40s, wrote on a questionnaire that she had a “very favorable” opinion of Blue Lives Matter. “I would be terrified if our police departments were dismantled,” she wrote, according to what the defense lawyer read aloud during jury selection. “However, it is obvious that change needs to happen.”
Many of the jurors expressed dismay over what had happened to Mr. Floyd or questioned the actions of the four officers involved, three of whom will face charges in a separate trial. Juror No. 27, a Black man in his 30s, wrote that Mr. Floyd “could have been me or anyone else,” according to the answers that the defense read back to him during questioning. No. 52, also a Black man in his 30s, wrote, “My opinion has been, why didn’t the other officers stop Chauvin?”
Juror No. 89, the nurse, said that since Mr. Floyd had died she would have to conclude that the police had knelt on him for “too long.” No. 44, a white executive at a health care nonprofit, said, “I do not know the laws and procedures of the police for detainment, but a man died and I’m sure that’s not procedure.”
The jurors said they could set their opinions and knowledge aside and consider only the evidence presented.
Shaila Dewan and Tim Arango