The Minnesota judge presiding over the trial of the police officer charged with murdering George Floyd denied a defense request on Monday to sequester the jury and said he expected closing arguments to begin next week.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill was asked by Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney to sequester the jury following unrest in the city overnight over the shooting of a 20-year-old Black man by police.
Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, said he was concerned that the protests in Minneapolis following the death of Daunte Wright could influence the jury.
“A verdict in this case is going to have consequences,” Nelson said. “Will the jury be confident to make a decision regardless of the potential outcome of their decision?”
Prosecutors opposed the request to sequester the jury and so did the judge.
“I’m not going to sequester them,” Cahill said. “We’ll sequester them on Monday when I anticipate doing closings.”
Chauvin is facing murder and manslaughter charges for his role in Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death, which occurred during his arrest for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill.
The 45-year-old Chauvin, who is white, was seen in a video taken by a bystander kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the handcuffed 46-year-old Black man complained repeatedly that he “can’t breathe.”
The video touched off protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.