MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd ‘s death is being conducted under special circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The biggest single difference is that the trial is televised, which is common in many states but not in Minnesota. But there many other changes, ranging from the physical layout of the courtroom to the plastic barriers between participants, to the way sidebars are conducted.
Minnesota allows cameras in court, but only when the prosecution and defense agree — something that hasn’t happened before in trials where interest was high enough that cameras were even considered.
By that rule, camera’s wouldn’t have been allowed at Chauvin’s trial because Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison opposed them on the grounds that they could scare away potential witnesses.
But Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ordered them anyway, citing intense interest in the trial, the limited courtroom space and the need for transparency. Cahill also cited Chauvin’s right to a public trial.