Opening arguments begin in a lawsuit that will tell us a lot about justice in the United States

the 15 people chosen for the jury– two of whom will serve as alternates and one of whom will be fired – include three white men, six white women, three black men, one black woman and two multiracial women. They were long questioned by prosecutors and defense attorneys, Chauvin’s attorneys using 14 of their 18 authorized peremptory challenges to dismiss jurors without cause, while prosecutors used eight of their 10 chances to do so. A potential juror, for example, was eliminated by Chauvin’s lawyers after he said she walked and carried a sign. The judge was also allowed to fire any potential juror for just cause.

Defense can present evidence related to a 2019 arrest in which Floyd was found with drugs – in particular, he will use the medical evidence from that arrest to argue that Derek Chauvin did not actually cause Floyd’s death. Prosecutors can use witnesses of Chauvin’s aggression as an off-duty security guard. Chauvin drew at least 17 malpractice complaints in his police work.

What is happening in this trial is not just a statement or judgment on the criminal proceedings in Hennepin County, Minnesota, ”said Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe, professor of law at the University of California at Davis. The Washington Post. “There are people all over the country, all over the world, looking at this to get a sense of how much they can believe in our justice system.”

And it is not a slam dunk that the message that people can believe in our justice system will be good.

Winning a conviction will be difficult, ”Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told NPR. “I say this not because I doubt our resources or our abilities, in fact, we are confident in what we are doing. But history shows that there are obvious challenges here. The mere fact that Chauvin faces such serious charges, however, is already a departure from many high-profile killings of civilians by police.

The city of Minneapolis has already settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Floyd’s family, paying $ 27 million. The other three officers who were at the scene with Chauvin when he killed Floyd will face trial on lesser charges over the summer.

USA today broadcast the essay on Youtube. The jurors will be masked by the camera.

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