Jurors reveal 'lightbulb moment' in Derek Chauvin trial

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Jurors in the George Floyd murder trial have spoken out for the first time about how the experience has affected their lives, as well as the "light bulb" moment in the trial that lead to the conviction of police officer Derek Chauvin.

CNN spoke with seven of the 12 jury members from the landmark case, where Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in the murder of George Floyd.

Gruesome video of Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck for nine minutes as he cried out he couldn't breathe— subsequently leading to his death — was shown to the jury, many admitting the experience has haunted them since.

Screenshot of the CNN special showing seven jurors in an interview with Don Lemon from CNN.
Seven out of 12 jurors appeared in the CNN interview talking about the trial. Source: CNN

"It was very, very traumatic," Juror Sherri Belton Hardeman said. "It just hurt my whole soul, my whole body. I felt pain for his family. The whole experience has been hard."

The incident happened in Minneapolis in May 2020 after police responded to a claim that Floyd had tried to spend a fake $20 bill and was recorded on a mobile phone and shared worldwide, sparking outrage.

International protests over police brutality and racism sensationally erupted all over the world in response to the incident.

Ruling based on evidence, not race

Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison in June 2021, with jurors arriving at their decision after 10 hours over two days.

The jurors said the ruling to convict the former police officer of manslaughter was based on evidence and not race.

“We got here because of systemic racism within the system, right, because of what’s been going on," Juror Nicole Deters said in the interview.

"That’s how we got to a courtroom in the first place. But when it came down to all three verdicts, it was based on the evidence and the facts 100 per cent.”

Lightbulb moment revealed

The group spoke of the "lightbulb" moment they landed on their decision to convict the former cop, saying they agreed quickly on the conviction of second-degree murder and manslaughter but took more time when deliberating the third-degree murder charge.

The "light bulb moment" in deciding Chauvin was guilty of third-degree murder was they looked at what Chauvin failed to do when it was clear Mr Floyd's life was in danger.

Photo of Derek Chauvin wearing a grey suit in court earlier this year.
Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Source: AP

Third-degree murder occurs when the defendant kills the victim unintentionally or accidentally.

"At some point [I think it was Jodi Doud] asked does the intended act of harm have to be the death of George Floyd or can it be him not providing the life support," Ms Deters said.

"He still never stepped up and let the EMS do their job," Ms Doud explained. 

"He had to have the EMS tap him to get up. That, to me, said more than what he actually did. That he just didn't do anything to help him, at that time.

“He did not provide life saving measures for George Floyd when he knew that the guy was in pain or needed medical attention.”

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