An alternate juror for the Derek Chauvin murder trial on Thursday said she agreed with the jury’s decision to convict the ex-police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck.
“I felt he was guilty,” Lisa Christensen said during a “CBS This Morning” interview. “I didn’t know it would have been guilty on all counts, but I would have said guilty.”
Christensen said she viewed Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer for nearly two decades, as a leader who took command of the other cops who confronted and subdued Floyd, then ignored bystanders’ warnings that he had passed out.
Christensen was one of two alternate jurors dismissed by Judge Peter Cahill on Monday as the case went to verdict deliberations. She is the first person chosen for the jury to speak out publicly about the case, which is permitted now that the trial has concluded.
She heard and saw all of the trial testimony, having been selected for the case after describing herself during jury selection as an animal lover who had recently resigned from a customer service job.
The jury of seven women and five men on Tuesday convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, findings that could keep him in prison for decades when he’s sentenced in about two months.
He’s now being held in solitary confinement in a maximum-security Minnesota prison for his role in a case that started with an allegation that Floyd used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes in a Minneapolis convenience store.
Chauvin will likely appeal his guilty verdict.But the odds aren’t good.
‘A harder case to prove’:What Chauvin’s guilty verdict means for other officers charged
On her jury questionnaire, Christensen, a white woman in her 50s, wrote that the restraint led by Chauvin “ultimately was responsible for Mr. Floyd’s demise.” However, she added a caveat, saying that the infamous video of the police struggle with Floyd that was recorded by teen bystander Darnella Frazier “may not show the entirety of the situation that happened.”
Christensen told CBS that she, like many of the potential jurors interviewed by prosecution and defense lawyers, had been reluctant to serve on the panel that would decide Chauvin’s legal fate.
“I was worried about, whatever the verdict may be, some people felt strongly on one side, and other people felt strongly on the other side, so no matter what I felt like, somebody wasn’t going to be happy,” she said.
But during trial testimony over three weeks, Christensen told CBS she grew to believe that Chauvin was guilty.
“I just felt like the prosecution made a really good strong argument,” she said.
Christensen in particular cited the testimony of Dr. Martin Tobin, an expert on the physiology of breathing who was the prosecution’s key witness. Tobin “really did it for me, he explained everything, I understood it, down to where he said this was the moment that (Floyd) lost his life. That really got to me,” Christensen said.
She had no accolades for the Chauvin defense team, led by attorney Eric Nelson.
“I don’t think they had a good impact,” she told CBS. “I think (Nelson) over-promised in the beginning and didn’t live up to what he said he was going to do.”
Christensen said she sometimes locked eyes with Chauvin from her jury seat, which made her uncomfortable.
Trial testimony convinced her about his role in the struggle.
“I felt he was the leader, and other officers were following his lead,” said Christensen.
It also took a personal toll on Christensen.
“I just don’t understand how it got from a counterfeit $20 bill to a death,” she said. “It kind of shocks me.”
Guilt, regret, helplessness: Watching George Floyd die had a ‘profound’ impact on witnesses