Derek Chauvin’s Prosecutors Just Bounced a Juror Who Supports Blue Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements came up a lot on the first day of jury selection.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher questions a potential juror Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn., in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused in the death of George Floyd.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher questions a potential juror Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn., in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused in the death of George Floyd. (Court TV/Pool via AP)

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On the first day of jury selection for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop accused of murdering George Floyd, prosecutors denied a supporter of the Blue Lives Matter movement a seat in the courtroom. 

On Tuesday, the state used one of its nine peremptory challenges to strike Juror #8, a self-declared family man and a Christian, from participating in determining the fate of Chauvin, who faces a total of 50 years in prison. During questioning, which was live-streamed on CourtTV, the man said he didn’t agree with the Black Lives Matter movement and that he instead favored the Blue Lives Matter movement.


“As far as the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve done some research and read some articles and this and that as far as the organization and the politics,” he told Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson. “I have some misgivings about some of the platforms that they’ve emphasized.

"And you also have strong opinions about Blue Lives Matter as well?” Nelson asked the juror. “And those are very favorable opinions?" 

"Yes," the man told Nelson.

Juror #8 also mentioned in his pre-court appearance questionnaire that he was ready to take part in the trial if selected but had concerns over the safety of his home and his family and thought that the protests had a negative impact on what’s presumed to be his home city. He also mentioned concern that he or his loved ones could be harmed or that his home might be targeted and vandalized depending on the outcome of the case. 

“I have friends who have moved out of their condos in downtown Minneapolis,” the juror wrote in his questionnaire, according to state prosecutors. “My wife and I have no desire to go out in downtown Minneapolis.”

Chauvin, who was released on $1 million bail in October, is facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges after he spent about nine minutes with his knee on Floyd’s neck as the 46-year-old Black man cried out “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. 


Prosecutors plan to argue Chauvin showed disregard for human life when he ignored Floyd’s cries, while his defense says Chauvin’s actions didn’t directly cause Floyd’s death but rather a number of preexisting conditions and prior drug use.

More than once on Tuesday, Chavin’s defense and Minnesota state prosecutors asked potential jurors about their personal stances on both the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements, as well as their experiences with police officers and if they attended protests over Floyd’s death last summer. They emphasized the importance of potential jurors' personal opinions about law enforcement in hopes of providing Chauvin a fair trial after months of public scrutiny. 

Juror #2, the first juror chosen to partake in the trial, told Nelson that he wasn’t squarely in either camp and felt that all lives matter.

"I don't love the Black Lives Matter organization," said Juror #2, a career chemist. "I do support the movement or at least the message that every life should matter equally. I don’t believe the organization Black Lives Matter necessarily stands for that. I do think that the phrase and the movement stands for that."

“I don’t really see it as a counter,” he continued when asked about his stance on the Blue Lives Matter movement. “I see it as unfavorable because I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. I don’t see why the counter to ‘Black lives should matter the same as all lives’ would be ‘Police lives matter too.’ In my opinion, the whole point of that is all lives should matter equally, and that should include police.”


Juror #2 said he takes pride in his work in science and considers himself a logical person and recounted mostly positive encounters with police throughout his life. But he also knows not everyone shares that experience and that mandatory minimums and other aspects of the criminal justice system are statistically biased against racial minorities. 

So far, Juror #2 is one of two jurors seated for Chauvin’s trial, which is expected to last up to seven weeks. Along with jurors’ stance on Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, whether they’ve seen the graphic footage of Floyd’s death last May 25 will play a major role in the selection process. 

Juror #2 said that he hadn’t seen the video. The second approved juror, a woman from Minneapolis, said that she had seen the video and didn’t view Chauvin favorably but was open to hearing both sides and making a decision based on evidence presented in court.

The state and Chauvin’s defense had already agreed to dismiss 16 prospective jurors for their answers to the pre-trial questionnaire. 

In addition to the second-degree felonies, Chauvin is facing another potential charge: third-degree murder. Prosecutors had originally tried to bring third-degree charges against Chauvin last summer, but a state judge dismissed the charge last October. Prosecutors successfully appealed last month, and the pending case already delayed the jury selection process, which was slated to start Monday, by a day. 

The three other Minneapolis officers present when Floyd died under Chauvin’s knee will face trial in August.