ROCHESTER, Minn. - Even though the verdict is in, finding Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him in the death of George Floyd, the jury's work isn't over.
KIMT News 3 spoke with Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgersen who says it's at the expense and responsibility of the county to properly set the jury members up in a hotel if they have to be sequestered. He explained it's the sheriff's office's responsibility to be the security for district court. That order comes directly from the state of Minnesota. So, that means deputies are with jury members the entire time they're being sequestered. Not only to keep them protected, but also to make sure the juror doesn't have any outside influence that could hinder the process.
Sheriff Torgersen said there's a Democratic process as to how trials work, whether you agree with it or not. "We all have the right to free speech and say what we think about it, but we don't have the right to strike fear in people and cause them to be afraid that if they go home and they wake up at some point in the night, their windows are going to be broken or tires are flattened or whatever because somebody found out that they were a juror," he explained.
Sheriff Torgersen, who actually got his start in law enforcement in Hennepin County, said remaining anonymous is the best thing for a jury member. He also explained during jury selection for this trial, people stepped down because they were scared and that's not the way it should be. "That's not our free society. That's not what America should be like," he said. "Where jurors are afraid to sit on a jury because they're afraid of the aftermath. That's not right. That really strikes at the core of our Democracy, I think."
The anonymous twelve person jury must now determine if any "aggravating factors" exist, like if the victim was "treated with particular cruelty" or if a child was present. Sheriff Torgersen said once everything is said and done in the Derek Chauvin trial, it's up to the jurors to decide if they want to remain anonymous.