The judge hearing the case stemming from George Floyd’s killing issued a 16-page questionnaire to potential jurors as the court considers whether the four former police officers charged can be tried fairly in Minneapolis, reports the Washington Post. The survey asks potential jurors about policing, the criminal justice system and movements such as Black Lives Matter. It provides blank pages for long written answers, asking everything they know about the case, including how many times they viewed videos of Floyd’s arrest and their impressions of Floyd and the four officers. “No matter what you have heard or seen about the case, and no matter what opinions you might have formed, can you put all of that aside and decide this case only on the evidence you receive in court, follow the law and decide the case in a fair and impartial manner?” the survey asks.
The questionnaire three months before the scheduled trial comes as attorneys for the former officers have questioned whether an impartial jury can be seated in Minneapolis, citing media coverage of the case and the possibility that protests could threaten the safety of participants. Judge Peter Cahill has rejected motions to move the trial out of Minneapolis, arguing that a “fair and safe trial” can be held in the city and saying “no corner of the state of Minnesota has been shielded from pretrial publicity regarding the death of George Floyd.” Cahill said he would reconsider a change of venue if “the court is satisfied that a fair and impartial trial cannot be had.” Derek Chauvin, who was with the department for 19 years, has been charged with murder, and three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting. All four were fired from the police department and are scheduled for trial March 8.