Tags: George Floyd Protests | minneapolis | chauvin | floyd | settlement | trial

Minneapolis' Lawsuit Settlement in George Floyd Death May Cause Cop's Trial to Be Moved

a chalk figure has the quote 'i can't breathe' on it
'I Can't Breathe' is scrawled on the pavement during a peaceful demonstration over George Floyd’s death. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 March 2021 08:42 PM

The judge overseeing the trial of a former Minneapolis police offer charged in the death of Black man in custody that set off months of riots across the country is considering moving the trial after the announcement that the city had paid the dead man’s family $27 million to settle a lawsuit.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill may also delay the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, which began jury selection more than a week ago.

The settlement "is not just a legal decision, it's a political one," Cahill said. "And I think the people in [this] room realize that."

Cahill was concerned that the publicity of the settlement could compromise the ability of the seven jurors who had already been selected when the announcement was made to be fair.

He said he will question the seven jurors alone on Wednesday.

Cahill appeared exasperated that the announcement of the payment came during the trial.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson referred to a Washington Post article last week that quoted an anonymous city official as revealing that federal District Judge Toddrick Barnette had approved the announcement.

Cahill said he spoke with Barnette and claimed the report "is not an accurate statement."

"I think the bottom line is, this was a federal lawsuit, this court was not involved, and as I recall in my discussions with Judge Barnette, the answer was 'We can't tell you what to do,'" Cahill said, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "And I think he expressed the concern that we would have about doing such a thing in the middle of jury selection, so there was no approval by this court.

“We had no authority to approve any release at this time. I think the city is trying to dump their responsibility back on the court where it does not belong."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting the case and who has a son on the Minneapolis City Council that unanimously approved the settlement, did not answer a reporter’s question if he or the court knew of the deal before it was announced on Friday.

Nine jurors had been seated by the end of Tuesday’s proceedings. A jury of 14 will be selected, including two alternates.

Cahill’s remark about the settlement being “political” followed a request by the defense to reclaim a pre-emptory challenge – i.e. one without stating a cause – that it used to dismiss a juror who said he heard about the city’s settlement but said he could still be fair. The judge denied the request.

The judge also said he does not intend to sequester the jurors before deliberations.

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The judge overseeing the trial of a former Minneapolis police offer charged in the death of Black man in custody that set off months of riots across the country is considering moving the trial after the announcement that the city had paid the dead man's family $27 million...
minneapolis, chauvin, floyd, settlement, trial
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2021-42-16
Tuesday, 16 March 2021 08:42 PM
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