ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The jury pool in the trial of St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez currently sits at 23 individuals–16 men, and seven women, with just two people of minority descent remaining. The group is heavily white and skews older.
Monday morning the "strike" phase begins, in which each side can dismiss potential jurors without a reason or explanation. The defense is awarded five strikes, while the prosecution gets three.
If both sides use all their strikes, 15 jurors will remain. Three more must be eliminated to reach the total of 12 required by the court.
Below are the profiles of each potential juror, with a bolded title for individuals that either side has already attempted to dismiss. These people are likely to be sent home in the next round.
JUROR POOL NO. 1 – Young black male
- Fast food restaurant manager who cares for his handicapped mother.
- Didn’t hear much about the case, but he seems to recall that Diamond Reynolds is a minor.
- Believes sometimes the powerful can get off in the legal system because they are able to hire better attorneys.
- Gets lots of info from the internet, but even as a millennial believes he can put his curiosity aside and not do that during trial.
- Has been following the storylines across the country of black men being shot by police, but tells the court he can put his feelings aside and be an impartial juror.
JUROR POOL NO. 2 – Older white female
- Works as a manager at a gas station and says she hadn't heard a word about the case until now.
- She served on a jury four or five years ago in a domestic assault trial.
- In an interesting twist, she told the court she hadn’t posted anything in favor of or against law enforcement, but prosecutors produced three of her Facebook posts from November where she shared posts supportive of law enforcement. She claims she had forgotten about them and didn’t think of the posts as pro-police. Because of this, prosecutors tried to get her dismissed for cause–but the judge denied the motion.
- Reported that she has African-American and Mexican friends.
JUROR POOL NO. 4 – White male around 50 years old
- A gun owner who works in a sheet metal shop, he said he had some police encounters in the past, including cocaine charges that weren't disclosed on his questionnaire, but wants to serve on the jury to see how the system works.
- Acknowledged during questioning that police have difficult & dangerous job.
JUROR POOL NO. 5 – 54-year-old white male
- This potential juror has a wife who works in St. Paul Public Schools' Food Service department, but neither of them knew Philando Castile. In fact, he said they barely talked about the name after the shooting.
- He also lives close to the shooting scene and owns several guns.
- During questioning he recalled Diamond Reynolds going on a “rant,” and said he didn’t understand why Yanez had to fire so many shots.
- Has family in law enforcement
JUROR POOL NO. 6 – Older white male
- He is a driver for a medical transportation company who sees serving on a jury as his civic duty.
- Has a DUI on his record. He was pulled over for speeding after a party and cited.
- Reports a one-time best friend, now dead, who was African-American.
JUROR POOL NO. 8 – Older white female.
- Employed as a nurse, she absolutely loves watching Judge Judy (“She doesn’t fool around!”), but knows real-life courtroom is far different.
- Reports a high regard for law enforcement and remembers hearing about the case last July, but not many details.
- She said her husband was carjacked at gunpoint years ago, but doesn’t think that will cause her any problems as a juror.
JUROR POOL NO. 9 – Younger white female
- Now a fast food cook, she said she has no prior knowledge of the case.
- Reported during questioning that she was raped as a child by her father, who spent time in prison for the incident. She remembers hating being questioned by her dad’s defense attorney at trial, but said the trauma won’t impact her performance on a jury.
JUROR POOL NO. 11 – White male around 50 years old
- Works for a healthcare company and has a master's degree.
- He believes the justice system is overburdened by victimless crimes, including prostitution and drugs.
- Originally from Colorado, where marijuana is legal, he said he doesn’t find pot to be a big deal.
- Despite moving to Minnesota more than five years ago, he reports no prior knowledge of the case.
JUROR POOL NO. 15 – White male around 40 years old
- A professor with a Ph.D., he attended a vigil for Philando Castile last summer and reported crying at the event. The defense moved to dismiss him, but the judge ultimately denied the request.
- During questioning he reported feeling that the shooting was “suspicious and excessive,” but as a scientist believes he can render a fair verdict once he hears all the evidence.
- He was recently shot by a pellet gun in a drive by, and didn’t think police took it seriously enough. His family is planning to move out of their neighborhood for safety reasons.
JUROR POOL NO. 16 – White female around 40 years old
- As a nurse, she said she got into the field to help people. Apparently Yanez' wife works in the same building as she does but they don't know each other.
- She is a domestic assault victim and said she was disappointed in the way police handled the situation.
- She remembers seeing the Facebook live stream video but told the court, “I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened [there are] two sides to every story.”
- She was at the hospital on the night of the I-94 protest and remembers ambulances not being able to get through with patients.
JUROR POOL NO. 17 – 18-year-old black female
- An Ethiopian immigrant taking classes at an area community college, she came to America when she was 10 years old. She is an American citizen through her father, who is also an citizen.
- She speaks English well, but knows very little about the American criminal justice system.
- The defense went after her particularly hard for her lack of knowledge and understanding, with a motion made to dismiss her. The judge denied that request.
JUROR POOL NO. 18 – White female around 35 years old
- Works in computer support and is not familiar with the case at all.
- She has a DUI on her record but said she believes she can be a fair and impartial juror.
JUROR POOL NO. 19 – Older white male
- He's lived in St. Paul his entire life and has been married for 44 years to a Mexican woman--he says he doesn't see race as an issue.
- Served on juries in the 1970s and was convicted of a DUI seven years ago.
- Knows a moderate amount about the case and remembered during questioning that Castile had a gun permit. Also recalls how calm Diamond Reynolds was while shooting the video.
- He told authorities that the long week of jury questioning was frustrating, but said he won’t hold that against either side.
- A hunter who has experience with firearms, he does own a handgun.
JUROR POOL NO. 21 – White male around 50 years old
- As a construction worker he's postponed his jury duty three separate times, only to end up on this case.
- He has a family member being prosecuted in another county right now and believes the prosecutors there to be wrong, but also says he can put aside those feelings for this case.
- Recently witnessed a drive-by shooting in his neighborhood.
- He remembers seeing the Facebook video and that Yanez was upset.
- Owns several guns.
JUROR POOL NO. 23 – White male around 40 years old
- Works in the heating and air conditioning field and has lived abroad before. He's originally from Texas.
- He had a beer bottle smashed across his face as a high schooler and the assault case went to trial, but he remembers good experiences with police.
- His girlfriend is Hispanic and they have child together, he says he has no issues with race.
- Listens to NPR regularly and reports he heard about the case there.
JUROR POOL NO. 24 – White male around 40 years old
- An Air Force combat medic in Iraq, he said he saw a lot of “sadness & damage to humans” there.
- He carried a 9 mm handgun as his sidearm and has a couple DUIs on his record, all misdemeanors. He told the court he has no ill will about the criminal justice system.
JUROR POOL NO. 25 – Older white male
- Driver for metro transit who knows nothing about the case.
- He owns a couple pistols but doesn’t carry a gun with him, though he did have a permit to carry at one point.
JUROR POOL NO. 26 – White male around 35 years old
- He works in car detailing and has full custody of his son after a dispute in court.
- Has MS, but told the court the condition won’t impact his ability to serve on a jury.
- Some of his family members are currently police officers.
JUROR POOL NO. 27 -- Older white male
- Former truck driver with military experience, he's a lifetime NRA member. Originally he thought he wouldn't be able to set aside his opinions on gun permitting and safety, but changed his mind.
- He believes Philando Castile made mistake during traffic stop when declaring that he had a gun
- His son knew Castile back in school.
JUROR POOL NO. 28 – Older white male.
- A former special education teacher with military experience.
- He remembers being "embarrassed" for the Twin Cities when the shooting happened. because it was mentioned with Ferguson, Baltimore and other incidents of police violence.
JUROR POOL NO. 29 – White male around 40 years old
- Works in the state’s sex offender program, but not directly with patients. He has also worked security jobs at hospitals.
- He knows about the case but has no strong opinions either way.
JUROR POOL NO. 30 – Older white female.
- Special education teacher who was the victim of childhood molestation.
- She learned a lot about the case from watching the news and wondered about how Diamond Reynolds had the presence of mind to shoot video of the aftermath.
- She also heard Reynolds was recently arrested, but says she can put prior knowledge of the case aside to be a fair and impartial juror.
JUROR POOL NO. 31 – White male
- A designer and UW-Stout alumnus.
- Arrested a couple times for marijuana violations, but says he doesn’t blame anyone but himself.