George Floyd's family only allowed 1 member in courtroom during Chauvin trial, judge rules

George Floyd died after being arrested by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day in 2020.

The families of both George Floyd and Derek Chauvin will only get one seat each in the courtroom for the murder trial, a Hennepin County Judge ruled this week. 

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill issued a trial management order Monday detailing the schedule, decorum and other procedures for Chauvin’s trial, which is scheduled to begin next week. 

Only one member of both Floyd’s family and Chauvin’s family will be allowed in the newly renovated courtroom, which was designed specifically to comply with social distancing guidelines during the trial. Different family members may rotate through that position, however, as long as they have the appropriate credentials, the order reads. 

"After a deeply painful and emotional year, the Floyd family is understandably disappointed by this ruling," Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, said in a statement on Twitter Tuesday. "The family is looking forward to the start of the Derek Chauvin trial as a critical milestone on the path to justice and a step toward closure in this dark chapter of their lives." 

George Floyd’s uncle, Selwyn Jones, is promising he’ll make the 350-mile trip from his home in South Dakota to Minneapolis next week for the start of Chauvin’s murder trial. Jones insists, he is coming to get justice for his nephew and was disappointed there will only be one seat for his entire family.

"I find it hard to believe that you got one family member they are going to let into the courthouse. What the hell is that about?" said Jones.

Some of the other ground rules Judge Cahill set in the order are the use of wireless headsets at trial between attorneys and the judge to minimize their face-to-face contact and when masks can be taken off, including during opening statements and closing arguments as well as when witnesses testify.

Chauvin is currently charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death, although the Minnesota Court of Appeals is currently debating whether to reinstate the third-degree murder charge in the case. 

Jury selection is set to begin Monday, with opening arguments scheduled for March 29. A verdict is not expected until mid to late April.