Survey created to pick jurors for George Floyd trial includes questions about protests, Black Lives Matter

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota -- In just three months, the world will be watching as four Minneapolis police officers are on trial to determine their roles in the death of George Floyd.

Lawyers are hoping a newly-released, detailed questionnaire will help them pick a jury.

Choosing a jury that hasn't already formed their own opinions and biases is going to be tough for both sides in this particular case.

Jurors will be asked over 69 questions pertaining to the arrest and death of Floyd, who grew up in Houston's Third Ward, as well as questions pertaining to protests, policing and Black Lives Matter.

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Like normal trials, lawyers have the choice to eliminate certain people as jurors, but what's different in this case is that biases won't necessarily disqualify someone.

The survey includes more than a dozen questions on policing and several questions on whether or not a potential juror participated in the protests that took place across the country, or if they were negatively affected by them.

Examples of questions include:
  • Have you ever watched a video of George Floyd's death on the news or internet and, if yes, how many times have you seen the video of the incident?
  • Because law enforcement officers have such dangerous jobs, is it not right to second guess decisions they make while on duty?

"This questionnaire is particularly thorough. It's the kind of questionnaire that we see in death penalty cases in states where they have that. One of the things about this case that we really can't ignore is that the credibility of criminal justice rests on it," Mark Osler, a Minnesota law professor said. "That, not just people in Minnesota, but around the world, are going to be looking to see if this is fair."

The survey says jury selection in the case will run from March 8 to March 26, 2021, with opening arguments expected to start on March 29.

Legal experts say that is longer than normal for jury selection.

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For those it was sent to, the questionnaire is due back on Jan. 2.

Experts expect the trial to last anywhere from three to four weeks.

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