MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – One of the jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin of the murder of George Floyd on Monday defended his participation in a protest last summer in Washington, DC, following speculation online about his motives to sit to the jury and whether that could be grounds for appeal.
A photo, posted to social media, shows Brandon Mitchell, who is black, attending the Aug. 28 event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 Washington March. Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, along with relatives of others shot by police, addressed the crowd.
This photo was recently uploaded, the Star Tribune reported.
It shows Mitchell standing with two cousins and wearing a T-shirt with an image of King and the words “GET YOUR KNEE FROM OUR NECKS” and “BLM”, standing for Black Lives Matter. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds last May as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Mitchell, 31, admitted to being at the event and that his uncle posted the photo, but said he did not recall wearing or owning the shirt.
Mitchell was one of 12 jurors who convicted Chauvin of second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. Mitchell, the first juror to be made public, spoke to multiple media outlets last week, including the Associated Press.
“I had never been to DC,” Mitchell said of his reasons for attending the event. “The opportunity to go to Washington, the opportunity to rub shoulders with thousands and thousands of blacks; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something.
Mitchell and Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, did not return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Mike Brandt, a Minneapolis defense attorney not involved in the case, told the AP that the revelation alone was not enough to overturn Chauvin’s conviction, but that it could be combined with d ‘other issues – the announcement of a massive civil settlement to Floyd’s family during the jury. selection, the Daunte Wright shooting, the judge’s refusal to move the trial – in an appeal to say Chauvin was denied a fair trial.
Ted Sampsell-Jones, professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, told the AP that Mitchell’s photo was “evidence that Chauvin can point to to establish that his right to an impartial jury has been denied.”
He added: “Frankly speaking, Chauvin did not have a completely impartial jury in the sense we usually attribute to criminal defendants. It was not the judge’s or the prosecutors’ fault, it was simply a function of the incredible publicity and public pressure “surrounding the trial.
Mitchell said he answered “no” to two questions about the demonstrations on the questionnaire sent out prior to jury selection.
The first question was: “Did you or a loved one take part in any of the protests or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd?” The second asked: “Besides what you have already described above, have you or a relative participated in demonstrations against the use of force by the police or against police brutality?”
Mitchell told Nelson during jury selection that he had a “very favorable” opinion of Black Lives Matter, that he knew some cops in his gym who are “good guys” and that he felt neutral about it. About Blue Lives Matter, a pro-police grouper. He also said he watched clips from a video of a bystander pinning Floyd and wondered why three other officers at the scene did not respond.
He said he could be neutral at trial.
Mitchell told the Star Tribune that last summer’s protest was “not 100%” a march for Floyd.
“It was directly related to the MLK March on Washington in the 1960s… The date of the March on Washington is the date… It was literally called the anniversary of the March on Washington,” he said.
Find full AP coverage of George Floyd’s death at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd