Derek Chauvin appears in court as jury selection continues

‘It could have been me’: First black man is seated in Derek Chauvin jury after saying black lives matter more than others because ‘they are marginalized’ and that he is strongly opposed to defunding the police

  • The second day of jury selection has gotten underway in the Minneapolis trial of ex-policeman Derek Chauvin 
  • First potential juror interviewed, a male in his 30s who is in sales, was seated on panel, making him the fourth 
  • The fifth juror picked, the first black man, said ‘black lives matter more because they’re marginalized’ 
  • The juror, an IT specialist in his thirties, is an immigrant from West Africa who opposes defunding the police
  • On Tuesday, one juror was dismissed after saying he was fearful pro-BLM mob would come after his wife, kids 
  • Chauvin is being tried for second-degree murder and manslaughter in the May 25 death of George Floyd, 46 
  • The former officer was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes while Floyd had trouble breathing 
  • Prosecutors want to add a third-degree murder charge, though that could mean a weeks-long delay in case 
  • On Tuesday, three jurors were confirmed, including white man who is a chemist and a young woman of color 
  • Chauvin appeared on Wednesday in court wearing his third different suit in as many days since Monday 

Derek Chauvin is seen above in a Minneapolis court for the second day of jury selection on Wednesday

The first black man who has been seated on the jury that will decide the fate of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is being tried for second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, told the court that he once lived in the same area where the 46-year-old African American died last spring, adding: ‘It could have been me.’ 

The African American juror, the fifth who has been seated since jury selection started in earnest on Tuesday and the second who was picked on Wednesday, is an IT specialist in his thirties.

Like other jurors seated so far, he said that he supported the ideals of the Black Lives Matters movement but went further than his peers saying, ‘All lives matter, but black lives matter more because they are marginalized.’

He also voiced support for Blue Lives Matter and when questioned by the prosecution said he was strongly opposed to defunding the police, stating that the presence of police made him feel safer. 

‘I believe our cops need to be safe and feel safe in order to protect our community,’ he said.

The married IT manager in his thirties immigrated from West Africa to the United States 14 years ago. 

He told the court that he believed in the country’s justice system and wanted to serve on the jury because it was his civic duty. 

‘I also believe that to make the justice system work I think we need people that are part of the community to sit as a juror,’ he said.

He said that he was not on social media but had seen the video of Floyd’s death and formed a slightly negative view of Chauvin. 

He added that he was conscious that he did not know what had happened before or after the short clips he had seen. 

Chauvin’s attorney pressed the potential juror on one answer that he had written in response to the jurors’ questionnaire. He stated that, while discussing Floyd’s death with his wife, he had said, ‘It could have been me.’

Asked what he meant by that the juror explained that he used to live in the area where Floyd died and said, ‘It could have been me or anyone else. It could have been anybody. It could have been you, that’s what I mean.’ 

Earlier on Wednesday, a fourth juror was seated after he agreed to postpone his wedding. It was also learned that another juror was dismissed because he feared protesters would target his home and family.

Chauvin is seen on the left on Monday and on the right on Tuesday. Jury selection got underway on Tuesday in his trial

The fourth juror selected is a white, Minnesotan male in his thirties, who is in sales management. He joins the two white men and one woman of color seated in yesterday’s proceedings. 

Describing himself as ‘a very logical person who tries to eliminate emotion as much as possible,’ he told the judge that he was willing to postpone his wedding plans to take part in the case. He is due to marry on May 1.

He claimed to have watched the video of Floyd dying once in full and a couple of times partially and that he could set aside his personal opinions.

He admitted to knowing one potential witness, a forensics officer with the BCA, and has a cousin formerly in law enforcement.

He also said that he was sensitive to the notion that people are ‘treated differently due to their color,’ having taken a couple of civil rights courses in college. 

The juror also said that he had ‘strongly favorable’ views of the Black Lives Matter movement.

‘In my college years, I took a couple of great courses following the Civil Rights movement, and they really just led me on the path of racial injustice throughout our history,’ he told the court.

He said he was an avid sports fan and supported the right of black football players to protest police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem before games. 

The second day of jury selection got underway less than 24 hours after one person who was rejected for the panel by prosecutors expressed concerns that rioters sympathetic to Floyd would attack his home and come after his wife and children if they learned of his identity. 

State prosecutors used their first of nine peremptory challenges to strike ‘Juror #8’ – a military veteran from the National Guard who said that it was wrong to ‘second-guess [a police] officer’s decision.

‘I have a lot of respect for police… and I know they go through training,’ the prospective juror said.

On his questionnaire, the prospective juror wrote that he was concerned that in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, when riots and looting were rampant in Minneapolis, his friends moved out of a condominium downtown.

He also said that he and his wife have actively avoided going downtown since then, according to Fox News. 

When asked about the viral video in which Chauvin is seen pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, the prospective juror responded that he had a ‘strong opinion’ about the clip, though he added that he believe he could put his opinion aside to examine the facts of the case.

The prospective juror wrote that while he does not support Black Lives Matter, he does believe the concept that ‘black lives matter.’ 

Prosecutors eventually decided to dismiss the juror after he said he feared a pro-BLM mob would come after his wife and children if they learned he served on the jury.

The prosecution is permitted to strike eight more jurors without giving a reason while the defense is permitted to strike 13 more. 

Chauvin, who has been out on $1million bond since October, wore his third different suit in as many days.  

A woman walks near the makeshift memorial of George Floyd in Minneapolis before the second day of jury selection begins in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin who is accused of killing Floyd

A man clears the makeshift memorial of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Wednesday

The city of Minneapolis is on edge as the Chauvin trial gets underway. Three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest will be tried separately this summer

The makeshift memorial in Minneapolis includes flowers, plants, pro-BLM signs, paintings, drawings, and messages of support and condolences for Floyd

A man removes dead flowers from the makeshift memorial of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Wednesday

The makeshift memorial is seen from across the street in Minneapolis on Wednesday

A man walks past the mural of George Floyd near the makeshift memorial in Minneapolis on Wednesday 

George Floyd’s maternal aunt, Kathleen McGee, took the solitary seat set aside for his family.

Yesterday three jurors were selected: a white chemist who thinks BLM is ‘too extreme’ and hasn’t seen the George Floyd video, a woman of color who’s related to a cop and thinks BLM has ‘turned into propaganda’ and a white man who works as an auditor.

However, prosecutors have filed a request to the state’s Appeal Court to delay the case in bid to get judge Peter Cahill to reinstate the third degree murder charge.

The judge tossed the third-degree charge last year, after Chauvin had agreed to plead guilty to it, and imposed a tougher charge of second-degree murder. 

But the Appeal Court ordered him to reinstate it on Friday after it agreed to look at a similar case where a police officer shot dead a woman who called 911 to report a sexual assault. 

National Guard troops were seen outside the heavily fortified courtroom in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday

A protester is seen above holding signs in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday – the first day of jury selection in Chauvin’s trial

Several protesters are seen in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday to mark the start of Chauvin’s trial

The Appeal Court will not even begin to hear that full case until June and may now stop the Chauvin case going ahead to await the outcome if the third degree charge is not reinstated. 

Chauvin’s lawyers have also appealed to the state’s Supreme Court to have the Appeal Court’s decision struck down.     


Second-degree murder 

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, which in Minnesota can be ‘intentional’ or ‘unintentional.’

The second-degree murder charge requires prosecutors to prove Chauvin caused Floyd’s death while committing or trying to commit a felony — in this case, third-degree assault. 

Prosecutors must convince the jury that Chauvin assaulted or attempted to assault Floyd and in doing so inflicted substantial bodily harm. 

Prosecutors don’t have to prove that Chauvin was the sole cause of Floyd’s death – only that his conduct was a ‘substantial causal factor.’ 

If the prosecution can prove Chauvin committed third-degree assault on Floyd, he can be convicted of Floyd’s death. 

Prosecutors are fearful that Chauvin will escape conviction for second-degree murder, that carries a maximum 40 year sentence. 

But because Chauvin does not have any prior convictions, sentencing guidelines recommend he serve no more than 25.5 years behind bars. 

Second-degree manslaughter 

The manslaughter charge has a lower bar, requiring proof that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death through negligence that created an unreasonable risk, and consciously took the chance of causing severe injury or death. 

In other words, Chauvin should have been aware that through his actions he was placing Floyd at risk of dying even though it may not have been his intent to kill him, according to prosecutors.

If convicted of second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota, the charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

But sentencing guidelines for someone without a criminal record call for no more than four years behind bars.

Third-degree murder* 

Third-degree murder would require a lower standard of proof than second-degree. 

To win a conviction, prosecutors would have to show only that Floyd’s death was caused by an act that was obviusly dangerous, though not necessarily a felony.

That would result in a maximum sentence of 25 years.

But there are caveats.

Chauvin has no criminal history, which means he will probably end up serving about 12.5 years whether he is convicted of second or third-degree murder.

Judge Peter Cahill must rule whether to allow prosecutors to add the charge against Chauvin. 

*Possible charges pending 

Judge Cahill has set aside three weeks to screen jurors, aware that most people have heard of Chauvin and seen the bystander’s video showing him with his knee on the dying Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Three jurors were seated on Tuesday after saying they could put aside their misgivings about Chauvin: a white man who is a chemist at an environmental testing lab; a woman who appeared to be of mixed race who said she was ‘super excited’ to serve on a jury; and a white man who works as an auditor.

Six others in the jury pool were dismissed, including some who said they would not be able to set aside their views on what happened. 

One woman who was dismissed said: ‘I definitely have strong opinions about the case. I think I can try to be impartial – I don’t know that I can promise impartiality.’

The three jurors who were selected – two men and one woman – all said they had heard some details about the case against Chauvin but would be able to put aside what they heard or opinions they had formed and make a decision based on evidence in court. 

One of the selected jurors said he hadn’t seen the widely-viewed bystander video of Floyd’s arrest at all, while the others described seeing it minimally.

One woman who saw the video said she doesn’t understand why Chauvin didn’t get up when Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

‘That’s not fair because we are humans, you know?’ she said. She too was dismissed.

The exchanges between potential jurors, attorneys and the judge illustrate the challenges in seating a jury in such a well-known case. 

In addition to asking questions about their ability to keep an open mind, attorneys asked about how they resolve conflicts, their views on the criminal justice system, and whether they felt safe serving on the jury. 

One potential juror expressed anxiety over the divisiveness of the case, while another feared his family could be targeted; both were dismissed.

The first man who was selected to serve on the jury, a chemist who says he works to find facts and thinks analytically, said he has never watched the video of Floyd’s arrest but that he has seen a still image from it. 

When asked if he could decide the case based on the evidence, he said, ‘I’d rely on what I hear in court.’

The man, whom prosecutors said identifies as white, said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement, but views the organization itself unfavorably. 

He also has an unfavorable view of the Blue Lives Matter movement. He said everyone should matter the same.

‘The whole point of that is that all lives should matter equally, and that should include police,’ he said.

The races of the second and third jurors selected were not made clear in court, though reports indicated that the second juror chosen is a woman of color in either her 20s or 30s. She also said that one of her uncles is a police officer.

She described herself as a ‘go-with-the-flow’ person who could talk with anyone about anything. 

The woman, who is related to a police officer in greater Minnesota, said she initially had a negative perception of Chauvin because of what she saw in the bystander video, but said she doesn’t know him and could be proven wrong.

‘That video just makes you sad,’ said the woman. ‘Nobody wants to see somebody die, whether it was his fault or not.’

She said there could be many reasons why Chauvin would pin Floyd to the ground, and that while she has heard Floyd had drugs in his system when he died, she understands that may not have been a factor in his death.

The third juror selected, an auditor, also told the court he would be open-minded. When asked how he resolves conflicts on teams at work, he said: ‘We use more facts over emotions in those cases.’

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, exercised two of his 15 peremptory challenges on potential jurors who identify as Hispanic, which led prosecutors to object that the jurors were being rejected because of their race. 

Cahill disagreed, noting that the second Hispanic juror to be dismissed had martial arts experience and referred to Chauvin’s restraint as an ‘illegal’ move. 

The judge also said that man made it clear he would stick to his opinions until someone told him otherwise, improperly shifting the burden of proof to the defense.

Cahill set aside at least three weeks for jury selection. Opening statements are scheduled no sooner than March 29. 

The trial on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges is seen as a landmark case on police violence against black people in the United States, a country where police officers are rarely found to be criminally responsible for killing civilians.

Jury selection is proceeding despite uncertainty over whether a third-degree murder charge will be added. 

The state has asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to stop proceedings until that’s resolved, which could mean a delay of weeks or months. 

Chauvin, 44, is white, and Floyd, who was being arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes, was a 46-year-old Black man who grew up in Houston before moving to Minneapolis.

Prosecutors say Chauvin should face an additional charge of third-degree murder over the objections of Chauvin’s defense lawyers, a dispute that is being hashed out in appeals courts while the District Court presses ahead with jury selection.

Chauvin and the three other officers who made the arrest were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department the day after Floyd’s death, which was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. 

Chauvin’s lawyers say he stuck to his police training and did not use excessive force. 

Fatal shooting appeal that could delay Chauvin trial

Mohamed Noor (left) was convicted in 2019 of third-degree murder in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond (right), an Australian woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault

The Derek Chauvin trial may be delayed until the outcome of an appeal by another former Minneapolis police officer is known.

Mohamed Noor was convicted in 2019 of third-degree murder in the 2017 fatal shooting of an Australian woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

His lawyers have launched an appeal because they say third-degree murder applies only when a defendant’s actions put multiple people at risk.

Chauvin’s attorneys will likely argue the same thing since he brought no harm to other bystanders and was not ’eminently dangerous to others.’

If the Supreme Court were to overturn Noor’s third-degree murder conviction, Chauvin’s charge could also be dismissed.

On July 15, 2017, Justine Damond called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

Officers Matthew Harrity and Noor responded and, finding nothing, they prepared to leave when Harrity is startled by a loud noise near the squad car.

Noor, in the passenger seat, shoots past Harrity, striking Damond through the driver’s side window. 

At trial, the jury convicted Noor of third-degree murder and manslaughter, and acquitted him on the more serious charge of second-degree intentional murder.  

Noor filed a petition last month asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn his conviction in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, after a Court of Appeals panel upheld the jury’s decision.

The state’s highest court granted the petition just days later and agreed to hear the case in June.

Legal analysts said that it normally takes months for the Supreme Court to hear a case, but the expedited decision was made in light of the implications for the Chauvin case. 

Some legal experts say the third-degree murder charge applies only when a defendant’s actions put multiple people at risk, but the appellate panel said it can apply when a defendant’s actions are directed at one person.

On July 15, 2017, Damond, a yoga teacher with dual American-Australian citizenship, called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home

The judge in Chauvin’s case had dismissed a third-degree murder count last October, saying it didn’t apply because Chauvin’s actions were directed at Floyd alone.

But prosecutors are seeking to have it reinstated, saying the appellate decision shows the third-degree murder count can apply to Chauvin as well. 

Noor claims his actions only targeted a single individual and did not harm anyone else except Damond.

His lawyer claims that since Noor’s actions only harmed a single individual, the third-degree murder charge clause, ‘an act eminently dangerous to others,’ would not apply in his case. 

Chauvin’s attorneys will likely argue the same thing. Since Chauvin brought no harm to any other bystanders he was not ’eminently dangerous to others.’ 

If the Supreme Court were to overturn Noor’s third-degree murder conviction, Chauvin’s charge would also remain dismissed.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week ordered the judge in the Chauvin case, Peter Cahill, to reconsider adding a third-degree murder charge against the defendant.

A three-judge panel said the Hennepin County district judge Peter Cahill erred last fall when he rejected a prosecution motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin.

The panel said Cahill should have followed the precedent set by the appeals court last month when it affirmed Noor’s third-degree murder conviction.

The appeals court sent the case back to Cahill for a ruling consistent with its ruling in the Noor case, giving the judge some leeway to consider other arguments that the defense might make against reinstating the charge.

‘This court’s precedential opinion in Noor became binding authority on the date it was filed. The district court therefore erred by concluding that it was not bound by the principles of law set forth in Noor and by denying the state’s motion to reinstate the charge of third-degree murder on that basis,’ the appeals court wrote.

Chauvin has the option of appealing the ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which would force Cahill to delay the trial, said Ted Sampsell-Jones, a criminal law expert at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

But if Chauvin decides not to appeal, the professor added, ‘then Judge Cahill will almost certainly reinstate the third-degree charge.’

A reinstated third-degree murder count could increase the prosecution’s odds of getting a murder conviction.

Cahill ruled last October that third-degree murder under Minnesota law requires proof that someone’s conduct was ’eminently dangerous to others,’ plural, not just to Floyd.

Cahill said there was no evidence that Chauvin endangered anyone else and threw out the charge.

But the Court of Appeals rejected similar legal reasoning in Noor’s case, ruling that a third-degree murder conviction can be sustained even if the action that caused a victim’s death was directed at just one person.

The appeals court rejected the argument by Chauvin’s attorney that the Noor ruling shouldn’t have the force of law unless and until it’s affirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in Noor’s appeal in June.

Cahill used similar reasoning last month when he rejected the state’s initial motion to restore the third-degree murder count, prompting prosecutors to ask the Court of Appeals to intervene.

Three other former officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. They’re scheduled for trial in August.

Prosecutors want to add charges of aiding and abetting third-degree murder against them, but that question will be resolved later. 

Officers Matthew Harrity and Noor responded and, finding nothing, they prepared to leave when Harrity is startled by a loud noise near the squad car. Noor, in the passenger seat, shoots past Harrity, striking Damond through the driver’s side window. Noor is seen above at his sentencing with attorneys Peter Wold (left) and Thomas Plunkett (right) in June 2019

The three other former police officers involved are to go on trial on charges of aiding and abetting Chauvin later this year.

Chauvin was released from jail on a $1million bond last October and is being tried in a courtroom in the Hennepin County Government Center, a tower in downtown Minneapolis now ringed with barbed-wire fencing and concrete barricades. 

Protesters chanted anti-racism slogans and blocked traffic on Monday, but few appeared in the largely deserted downtown streets on Tuesday.


Derek Chauvin, 46, faces the prospect of decades in prison if he is convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

Jury selection begins Tuesday in Derek Chauvin’s trial, which is expected to come down to two key questions: Did Chauvin’s actions cause Floyd’s death, and were his actions reasonable?

‘It’s hard not to watch the video and conclude that the prosecutors will not have any trouble with this case,’ said Susan Gaertner, the former head prosecutor in neighboring Ramsey County.

‘But it’s not that simple.’

Floyd died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes, holding his position even after Floyd went limp as he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach. Floyd’s death sparked sometimes violent protests in Minneapolis and beyond, and led to a nationwide reckoning on race.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter, and a panel of appeals court judges ruled Friday that the judge must consider reinstating a third-degree murder charge that he dismissed last fall.

Three other officers, all of whom also were fired, face trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting the second-degree murder and manslaughter counts.

The second-degree murder charge requires prosecutors to prove Chauvin caused Floyd’s death while committing or trying to commit a felony — in this case, third-degree assault.

The manslaughter charge has a lower bar, requiring proof that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death through negligence that created an unreasonable risk, and consciously took the chance of causing severe injury or death.

Exactly how Floyd died is shaping up as a major flashpoint of the trial.

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, argues in court documents that Floyd likely died from fentanyl he consumed, or a combination of fentanyl, methamphetamine and underlying health conditions — not as a result of Chauvin’s knee on his neck.

Chauvin’s attorney will argue that his client’s actions didn’t cause the death of George Floyd

But Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill wrote last fall that for the second-degree murder charge, prosecutors don’t have to prove that Chauvin was the sole cause of Floyd’s death — only that his conduct was a ‘substantial causal factor.’

Still, defense attorneys who aren’t connected to the case say all Nelson has to do is raise reasonable doubt in a single juror’s mind.

‘Although he had him pinned under his knee and he’s yelling “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” there’s an argument that (Chauvin) wasn’t exerting pressure and his inability to breathe was due to the drugs in his system or something to that effect, or his anxiety,’ said F. Clayton Tyler, a prominent local defense attorney.

Defense attorneys say it also may not be easy to establish that Chauvin was committing the felony of assault — as required for the second-degree murder charge in this case.

That’s because Chauvin is authorized to use force as a police officer, and his attorneys will argue that his use of force against Floyd was reasonable.

Gaertner said the defense will face a challenge of trying to move the jury’s focus off of the video and the strong emotion it generates.

They’ll instead try to focus on the medical evidence and Floyd’s underlying conditions while trying to portray the circumstances of the arrest as ‘justifiable consistent with police norms,’ she said.

Brandt and Tyler said Chauvin will likely have to take the stand to explain why he felt he had to hold Floyd down for so long.

Brandt said he’ll likely say he followed his training, and that it was necessary because his experience with other suspects under the influence of drugs shows that things can suddenly become erratic and dangerous.

Prosecutors, however, have submitted a list of previous instances in which Chauvin used chokeholds or similar restraints on the job. Cahill ruled they can admit only one as evidence: a 2017 arrest in which Chauvin restrained a female by placing his knee on her neck while she was prone on the ground.

Cahill also ruled that prosecutors can tell jurors about a 2015 incident in which Chauvin saw other officers place a suicidal, intoxicated male in a side-recovery position after using a stun gun on him.

Cahill said prosecutors can introduce that if they can show Chauvin was present when a medical professional said that the male could have died if officers had prolonged the detention.

Brandt said telling the jury about those events will allow prosecutors to show that Chauvin knew the proper way to restrain someone and provide relief, and that he has done it in wrong before.

Brandt said the third-degree murder charge could be easier for prosecutors to prove if it’s reinstated because they wouldn’t have to show Chauvin intended to commit assault.

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank wants to impose a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin

Instead, they must prove his actions caused Floyd’s death, and that they were reckless and without regard for human life.

The second-degree manslaughter count alleges Chauvin took a risk that a reasonable person would have known could cause death. To defend against that, Brandt said, Chauvin could argue that he had used the same hold in the past and didn’t think it would cause a problem.

However, Brandt said ‘the whole case’ against Chauvin is the video capturing the amount of time he restrained Floyd.

‘You hear on the video the passersby, the onlookers saying, “Dude, he can’t breathe. Let him up. What are you doing? You are killing him”,’ Brandt said.

‘I mean, it’s almost like they are giving a play-by-play.’

Tyler said if he were a prosecutor, he’d use a still shot of Chauvin’s expressionless face from that video and keep it in view for the jury to see.

‘I mean, the look on his face,’ Tyler said. ‘If I was prosecuting this case, I have to say, I’d have that picture up there. “You want to show indifference? Just look at him”.’

It is rare for police officers to face criminal charges for police-involved deaths of suspects.

Between 2005 and 2014, there have been 10,278 criminal arrests involving 8,495 non-federal sworn law enforcement officers in the United States.

Of those, just 110 law enforcement officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter in an on-duty shooting – this despite the fact that around 1,000 people are fatally shot by police annually, according to The Washington Post.

Of the 110 officers who were charged, just 42 were convicted, according to the Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database.

Why is it so difficult to bring charges – let alone a conviction – against a police officer involved in the death of a suspect?

‘If a civilian is displaying a weapon, it’s very hard to charge [the police officer] with murder for taking action against that civilian,’ Kate Levin, a professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, said. 

‘And even if a civilian doesn’t have a weapon, it’s hard to charge a police officer if [the officer] can credibly say they feared for their life.’

Source: FiveThirtyEight, The Associated Press

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