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'It was based on the evidence' | Chauvin jurors sit down for CNN interview

Don Lemon spoke to five jurors and two alternates from the jury that convicted former MPD officer Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd.
Credit: CNN

MINNEAPOLIS — Several members of the jury that convicted Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd are sharing their thoughts about the historic trial in a new joint interview with CNN.

In April, the jury convicted Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's May 2020 death. Chauvin was later sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.

Don Lemon spoke with five jurors and two alternates for an interview airing Thursday night. The joint interview comes just days before Judge Peter Cahill is scheduled to officially release the names of all jury members, as well as questionnaire responses from all 109 potential jurors on Monday.

In a brief clip released ahead of the airing of the CNN interview, Lemon asked the jurors about the role of race in their deliberations, and whether anybody in the jury was afraid to share their feelings on that subject.

"Not at all," said juror Sherri Belton Hardeman. "Race wasn't even mentioned in the three and a half weeks that we were in that courtroom, and it was never mentioned during deliberations, I don't believe." 

"I think we got here because of systemic racism within the system, right, because of what's been going on," said juror Nicole Deters. "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 percent."  

KARE 11 previously spoke to juror Brandon Mitchell in the days following the trial, who also spoke about the impact of race on the jury deliberations.

"I can’t say that it necessarily was about race, because, I mean, the facts have nothing to do with race. The facts are the facts," Mitchell said. "But looking at it as a Black man, from my perspective, I see myself within George Floyd. I see my family, my brothers within George Floyd. And from that aspect, it has a lot (about race.) But in terms of the case, it’s just the facts."

Mitchell told KARE 11's Lou Raguse that serving on the jury took an emotional toll.

"It was tough on me. Extremely tough," Mitchell said in the April interview. "There was a weekend, maybe after the second week of trial, where I just broke down. And it was like, 'I don’t know if I can do this anymore.' It 100% had a strain on me emotionally. Just constantly seeing that, and constantly hearing from different testimonies. It was rough."

RELATED: Juror in Derek Chauvin trial hopes verdict leads to reforms, change

KARE 11's Lou Raguse also spoke to alternate juror Lisa Christensen, who said video testimony was key in the case.

"The testimony by the experts, the forensics, and all the perspectives from the different videos," Christensen said. "I think it would have been harder to understand exactly what happened, but the videos are what really nailed it."

RELATED: 'I wish it didn't have to happen': Alternate juror reflects on Derek Chauvin trial

Chauvin is appealing his murder conviction, claiming a number issues, including that Cahill abused his discretion when he denied Chauvin's request to move the trial out of Hennepin County due to pretrial publicity.

Three other former MPD officers who were present during Floyd's murder are scheduled to go to on trial in March 2022. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

All four men also face federal civil rights charges, alleging the officers violated Floyd's civil rights.

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