Minneapolis, MN – Two of the jurors selected last week for the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd were dismissed from the jury on Wednesday morning.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill scheduled the voir dire with the jurors who had already been seated after defense attorneys questioned the jurors’ exposure to the news on Friday that the city of Minneapolis had agreed to pay Floyd’s family $27 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit, The Washington Post reported.
Cahill called the hearing – conducted with the jurors via Zoom – to question seven of the nine jurors who have been seated on the jury so far to find out if they had seen the news of the largest pre-trial settlement in U.S. history and determine whether it had influenced their opinions.
The other two jurors went through the jury selection process after the settlement had already been announced and were not included in the hearing.
The jurors who were excused by the judge on March 17 said the dollar amount of the settlement had confirmed that the city believed the police officers were responsible for Floyd’s death, ABC News reported.
“Clearly the city of Minneapolis has some strong opinions as well and this just kind of confirms the opinions that I already have,” a Hispanic juror who was later released told Cahill.
He reminded the judge that he had been questioned extensively on “my strong opinions” about Chauvin during voir dire, ABC News reported.
The juror said that knowing about the settlement amount would impact his ability to be impartial.
“It will impact it a lot,” he told the judge.
The other juror who was excused said he found the $27 million settlement “kinda shocking,” ABC News reported.
The $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family – the largest pre-trial wrongful-death settlement in U.S. history – was approved by the Minneapolis City Council on the fourth day of jury selection.
The councilmembers voted 13 to 0 to approve the unprecedented payday for Floyd’s family to settle the lawsuit they filed on July 15, 2020, WCCO reported.
The settlement included the stipulation that $500,000 would be put toward enhancing the area near where Floyd’s died at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
Attorneys for the family celebrated the win as historic, WCCO reported.
“That the largest pre-trial settlement in a wrongful death case ever would be for the life of a black man sends a powerful message that black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end,” notoriously anti-cop attorney Ben Crump bragged after the announcement was made.
Crump is representing Floyd’s family as well as a host of other families who have accused police officers of killing unarmed black suspects, WCCO reported.
“Mr. Floyd died because the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department was on his neck,” Crump said he initially filed the suit.
The suit accused the city of having allowed a culture of excessive force and racism to grow within the police department, WCCO reported.
State probate court documents showed the Floyd was survived by five children and six sibling who live in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, and New York.
Jury selection resumed on Wednesday morning after Cahill removed two of the jurors from the panel.
An additional seven jurors are needed to fill the 12 juror and two alternate slots before the trial can proceed.