The New York Times is being criticized by users online after appearing to make efforts to find out the identities of the anonymous jurors in the Derek Chauvin murder trial currently underway in Minneapolis.
“The 12 jury members and two alternates in the Derek Chauvin trial remain anonymous, and their faces can’t be shown on camera. Here’s what we do know about them,” says a tweet by the paper containing a link to its story.
The 12 jury members and two alternates in the Derek Chauvin trial remain anonymous, and their faces can't be shown on camera. Here's what we do know about them. https://t.co/JKamadWEQP
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 31, 2021
While the Times’ tweet was meant to tease platform users into clicking, the story acknowledges that jurors’ identities remain hidden. Still, the verbiage used in the article left other users with the impression that if the paper had their identities, it would publish them:
And yet they remain invisible, unseen by all but the very few people allowed into the courtroom. Because of the many threats against people involved in the case and the potential for outside pressure, the 12 jury members and two alternates remain anonymous and their faces cannot be shown on camera.
During opening arguments on Monday, many of the jurors took notes, according to representatives of the news media who were allowed in the courtroom. During one replay of the video, a juror held her forehead, rubbing her face and eyes. All of the jury members are wearing face coverings because of coronavirus protocols, so parsing their reactions is even more difficult.
“‘Here’s what we know about them.’ (Now Internet, go do your thing & figure out who they are so we can intimidate them into the right verdict.),” one user responded.
"Here's what we know about them"
("Now Internet, go do your thing & figure out who they are so we can intimidate them into the right verdict)". https://t.co/fdSuk25cA7
— IT Guy (@ITGuy1959) March 31, 2021
“[U]h, do you suppose they may have been granted anonymity for a reason?” Washington Examiner columnist Becket Adams wrote.
out: protecting jurors’ anonymity in a highly-charged, delicate court case.
in: protecting Miles Taylor’s anonymity so he can write a stupid “I'm the Resistance Inside the White House” op-ed for the New York Times
— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) March 31, 2021
“[O]ut: protecting jurors’ anonymity in a highly-charged, delicate court case. [I]n: protecting Miles Taylor’s anonymity so he can write a stupid ‘I’m the Resistance Inside the White House’ op-ed for the New York Times,” Adams added.
“[L]ooks like @nytimes is experimenting to see if an entire news outlet can be charged with jury intimidation,” another user wrote.
looks like @nytimes is experimenting to see if an entire news outlet can be charged with jury intimidation
— Ames Aldrich (@NeoPenthesilea) March 31, 2021
Y’all need to stop now. These are just regular folk that have been asked to do an extraordinary job. They be NONE of yours or our business unless you’re trying to get these jurors killed just because “news”….
— BetterNetter (@BetterNetter) March 31, 2021
Trump wasn’t wrong about that “enemy of the people” thing. https://t.co/J3l7RxAcV6
— The H2 (@TheH2) March 31, 2021
Chauvin has been charged with second- and third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in May 2020, which led to riots throughout Minneapolis and around the country lasting for months and causing billions in losses and damages.
And already, city and state officials are concerned about new violence depending on how the verdict goes, having deployed barricades near the courthouse and National Guard troops.
But the jurors are feeling the most heat.
“One prospective juror’s voice quivered as she told attorneys during jury selection that she feared for her family’s safety if chosen for the panel that will decide the fate of a white former police officer charged with killing George Floyd. When the judge excused her, the woman exhaled in relief,” The Associated Press reported Monday.
“Jurors at all trials feel pressure, knowing their decisions will alter lives. But the weight on jurors in Minneapolis is in a whole different category as they’ll be asked whether to assign guilt in the death of a Black man that prompted some of the largest protests in U.S. history,” the newswire added.
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