An alternate juror who sat throughout the entire Derek Chauvin trial, though played no role in deciding the actual verdict, granted an interview to CBS This Morning, telling them that she’s happy with what the jury decided upon.
Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts he was charged with, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, in the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
The actual jurors who arrived to those conclusions remained unseen and unnamed during the proceedings to protect their identities. They could remain anonymous for quite a while.
Lisa Christensen, as we just said, was an alternate. She told CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas that she was initially reluctant to be a juror when she was selected for that role.
“I was worried about, you know, whatever the verdict may be if some people felt strongly on one side, other people felt strongly on the other side,” she said. “So no matter what, I felt like somebody wasn’t going to be happy.”
She further told CBS she believed Chauvin was guilty, and then explained that the testimony of Dr. Martin Tobin, who explained how Floyd died, played a big role in that decision.
“I felt he was guilty. They read the jury instructions to us in the courtroom briefly, but I didn’t know it was going to be guilty on all counts but I would have said guilty,” she said.
Asked what led her there, she told Yuccas, “I just felt like the prosecution made a really good, strong argument. Dr. Tobin was the one that really did it for me. He explained everything. I understood it down to where he said this is the moment that he lost his life, really got to me.”
Tobin, a pulmonologist who studies the physiology of breathing, said from the stand that Floyd’s death came from low oxygen caused by Chauvin’s restraint.
She added that she didn’t think Chauvin’s defense team had a “good impact.”
“I think he over-promised in the beginning and didn’t live up to what he said he was going to do,” she said of the ex-officer’s lawyer.
Christensen said she hadn’t seen the nine-and-a-half minute video of Floyd’s death in its entirety until it was shown several times at trial.
“It was emotional. I think my eyes teared up a couple of times, so especially seeing it from different angles and things,” she said.
Of her impression of Chauvin as she watched the video, she said, “I felt like he was the leader, and the other officers were following his lead. I kind of felt like he wasn’t taking the warnings seriously, obviously, kind of like I know what I’m doing.”
She went on to add that, because of seating arrangements, she and Chauvin locked eyes at several points during the trial. She said this made her feel “pretty uncomfortable.” She also offered a degree of empathy for Chauvin, saying, “I do feel bad for him. Whether, you know, he made a huge mistake and it cost somebody their life… nobody is a winner out of this whole situation. I feel bad.”
Though he’s facing decades in prison, Chauvin’s potential sentence varies widely. That will be announced in roughly eight weeks.