The judge hearing the murder trial of the police officer charged with the killing of George Floyd has delayed the start of jury selection.
The process had been scheduled to begin on Monday morning in the trial of former policeman Derek Chauvin, but Judge Peter Cahill delayed it until at least Tuesday.
Prosecutors had asked for a delay until a court of appeals can rule on whether a third-degree murder charge could be reinstated against Chauvin.
Murder and manslaughter
Chauvin is already facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges for the May 25 death of Floyd, a Black man whose dying struggles were captured on video and sparked protests against racial injustice around the world.
"We have jurors but I think realistically we're not going to get to any jury selection and we won't have an answer (from the court of appeals) until at least tomorrow," the judge said.
"So unless any of the parties object I'm going to kick our jurors loose and start everything tomorrow with jury selection."
Jury selection will end after 14 people are picked — 12 jurors who will deliberate the case and two alternates who won’t be part of deliberations unless needed. The jurors will be escorted to the courthouse daily and sequestered during deliberations.
Their names will be kept confidential until further order of the court.
The number of seats in the courtroom has been limited to maintain social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and seats for jurors have been spaced out. Like others in the courtroom, jurors will be required to wear masks.
The earliest opening statements will begin on March 29.