First up is the totally normal feature of all well-run justice systems: picking teams. The prosecution and defence have co-written a 16-page questionnaire to be given to potential jurors, with questions like:
Lawyers can then ask the judge to remove anybody whose answer suggests a possible opinion on the case to be removed.How many times did you see the video of George Floyd's death?
Did you participate in marches against police brutality and, if so, did you carry a sign?
What are your views of the group Blue Lives Matter (the movement supporting police) - favourable or unfavourable?
Do you believe our criminal justice system works?
Furthermore, lawyers can also remove jurors without having to state why. For example, black people are more likely to find cops guilty, so the defence will be keen to remove as many black people from the jury pool as possible. Similarly, the prosecution will be aiming to remove racists, bootlickers, fascists and other sorts of people who like the police. Luckily for the defence the jury pool is being drawn from one of the whitest counties in Minneapolis, so they're off to a good start.
In the interests of fairness, the defence can remove 15 jurors whereas the prosecution can only remove 9.
All four cops have already been fired, which is pretty unusual for the US and perhaps represents some progress. Nevertheless if I choked somebody to death at work for no reason other than racism and power-tripping I might expect some legal repercussions as well as professional ones.
Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter. The others - Kueng, Lane, and Thao - are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Minnesota got rid of the death penalty 110 years ago, at least officially. It remains to be seen whether it's still de facto permitted for people suspected of passing bad cheques.