12th juror picked, lawyers clash over expert in Floyd trial

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In this screen grab from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, defendant and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, and Nelson's assistant Amy Voss, back, introduce themselves to jurors as Hennepin County Judge PeterCahill presides over jury selection in the trial of Chauvin Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV, via AP, Pool)

MINNEAPOLIS – Attorneys at the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death nearly finished jury selection on Thursday by choosing three more panelists, hours after clashing over how much they should hear of Floyd's own actions.

A total of 12 jurors have now been selected, leaving just two alternates yet to be chosen. So far, the racial makeup of the jury is evenly split; six of the jurors are white, four are Black, and two are multiracial, according to the court.

The newest jurors include a white registered nurse in her 50s who assured the court that she wouldn't draw on her medical knowledge at Derek Chauvin's trial, and a Black woman in her 60s who said she didn't watch the entire bystander video of Floyd's arrest and didn't know enough to form a firm opinion of Chauvin or Floyd.

The 12th juror, a white woman in her 40s who works in the commercial insurance business, said she has experience with someone who struggled with alcohol, and might view someone who uses drugs cautiously, saying they could act violently or aggressively when under the influence.

Still, the woman said she doesn’t ascribe to the sentiment that someone who uses drugs or doesn’t cooperate with police should be treated poorly. “If someone uses drugs, I don’t think there should be ramifications of violence for that,” she said.

Earlier, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell argued that a forensic psychiatrist should be allowed to testify on how Floyd’s behavior, as officers attempted to put him into the squad car, was consistent with any reasonable person’s anxiety or panic during a traumatic event. Officers pointed a gun at Floyd after he allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store, and he struggled and told them he had claustrophobia as they tried to force him into the car.

Prosecutors want to show that Floyd wasn’t actually resisting arrest -- as Blackwell said defense attorney Eric Nelson intended to argue -- but might have been panicking and physically unable to comply with officers’ orders.

“The defense is doing a full-on trial of George Floyd, who is not on trial, but that is what they're doing," said Blackwell, adding that the defense also planned to make arguments about Floyd's drug use.