News Media Outlets Ask Judge to Release Names of Jurors in Chauvin Trial
By: Alyssa Wilson
A group of news media outlets has asked Judge Peter Cahill to release the identities of the jurors who convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
According to the Associated Press, which is a part of the coalition requesting the names, the group says there is no known threat to the safety of the jurors that would require their names to be kept sealed. In a court filing, they asked him to immediately unseal the identities of the jurors, prospective juror list, juror profiles, questionnaires and unredacted juror forms.
Cahill has kept the identities of the jurors private but said he would make the names public when he thought it was safe. Attorney Leita Walker said the public and the media have a right to know about the jury. Despite the high-profile nature of the televised case, Walker said anonymous juries are rare and only allowed in exceptional circumstances like cases involving organized crime or gang activity.
In the legal filing, Walker wrote that since the trial is over, “there is no way that jurors’ fears of intimidation, harassment or violence can unfairly impact their deliberations.” She also noted that the coalition of media outlets is unaware of any threat to the jurors, citing public appearances made by two jurors and one alternate after Chauvin was convicted.
One of the jurors, Brandon Mitchell, made headlines when a photo of him at a protest wearing a shirt that said, “Get your knee off our necks,” circulated online. The 31-year-old basketball coach also talked publicly about what it was like serving on the jury, saying it was stressful and the images shown in court bothered him.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison and he still faces federal charges along with the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death. It remains unclear if Cahill will respond to the group’s request.
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