The jury in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has reached a verdict on its second day of deliberations.
More than 3,000 National Guard soldiers, along with state and local police officers, sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement personnel have flooded Minneapolis in recent days, with a verdict looming in the Chauvin trial, and following the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in the nearby city of Brooklyn Center.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys ended closing arguments in the Chauvin trial Monday after making their cases to jurors following weeks of testimony amid nationwide concerns over potential unrest that could follow once a verdict is reached.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said the court is in recess, “until we hear from the jury.” Jury deliberation could take hours, days or weeks. The jury consists of six White people and six people who are Black or multiracial.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson voiced concerns over the impartiality of the jury given the media attention the case has received. He also cited comments from Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who has voiced support for protesters in Minnesota.
“I just don’t know how this jury can really be… that they are free from the taint of this,” Nelson told the court. “Now that we have U.S. representatives threatening acts of in relation to this specific case. It’s mind-boggling.”
Cahill called it “disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch” for elected officials to comment on the outcome of the case — but ultimately denied the defense’s request to declare a mistrial.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Cahill said.