A full jury — 12 jurors and three alternates — was seated Tuesday in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis, Minnesota officer accused in the police-custody death of a Black man, George Floyd, last May that generated protests across the world.
Opening arguments in the case are set to begin next Monday and testimony in the high-profile case could last a month.
The 45-year-old Chauvin, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd, 46. If convicted, Chauvin could face years in prison.
Chauvin says he was following police training in arresting Floyd by pinning him to a city street by keeping his knee on Floyd’s neck for about 9 minutes. A shopkeeper had accused Floyd of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
Floyd died in police custody after gasping that he could not breathe. Chauvin’s defense attorney is expected to claim that Floyd died from underlying medical conditions, not because of the way in which he was arrested.
Street protests against police treatment of minorities, some of which turned violent, erupted in numerous U.S. cities and elsewhere throughout the world in the weeks after Floyd’s death.
On Tuesday, a third alternate juror, a white man who said he works as an accountant, was the last person chosen over a two-week period to try the case.
Earlier, 12 jurors and two alternates were selected: six white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman and two multiracial women, according to court records.
The city of Minneapolis agreed recently to pay Floyd’s relatives $27 million in damages to settle their claims of abuse in the case.