The judge who presided over the trial of Derek Chauvin has made public the names of jurors who convicted the former Minneapolis police officer of murder in the death of George Floyd.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, in response to a request to release the names by The Associated Press and other news organizations, also Monday made public the names of two alternate jurors who watched the trial but did not deliberate, as well as the responses of the jurors and alternates to questionnaires that were sent to prospective jurors during jury selection.
Chauvin, who is white, was convicted in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the May 25, 2020, death of Floyd. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe.
Cahill had initially kept the names of the jurors sealed and ordered that their identities not be made public for at least 180 days after the verdict, citing the high-profile nature of the case and concerns for the jurors’ safety and privacy. Prosecutors had asked that the names remain secret because releasing them could cause them to be harassed and make it more difficult to seat a jury next year for the trial of three other ex-officers charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd’s death.
But a media coalition asked the judge to release the names, arguing that the public and the media had a right to such information and pointed out that there had been no known threats to jurors’ safety. The judge ultimately relented, saying that the law presumes that jurors’ names and their questionnaires will be made public, unless there is a strong reason not to do so. He said he saw no strong reason to think the jurors need protection from any external threats to their safety.