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Derek Chauvin’s lawyer challenges jury and calls for new trial

The lawyer for the police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd questioned the impartiality of the jurors who rendered this verdict. He believes that they have been subjected to outside influences and that their decision reflects a fear of reprisals.

On May 4, attorney for Derek Chauvin – the Minneapolis police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd – filed a motion for a new trial, alleging the case should have been tried in another location due to its background particular, and calling into question the impartiality of the jury, it having been subjected to external pressure.

In the document filed in court, Eric Nelson claimed his client was denied a fair trial due to Judge Peter Cahill’s refusal to change the location of the trial, and the jury not being isolated. , which may have influenced him by subjecting him to a form of “intimidation or fear of reprisals”.

I was worried that people would come to my house if they weren’t happy with the verdict

Regarding this last point, Judge Cahill had recognized the day before the announcement of the verdict that the comments made publicly by California Democratic MP Maxine Waters could have led to “the cancellation of the whole trial”. She said the protesters should become “more aggressive” if the jury failed to deliver the “right” verdict, namely to find Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd. A substitute juror in this case, Lisa Christensen, had also declared that she feared “riots and destruction” if Derek Chauvin was not convicted. “I was worried that people would come to my house if they were not happy with the verdict,” she told local television station KARE.

Separately, Brandon Mitchell – the first juror to speak publicly and give media interviews about the trial – has hinted that he sees juror work as a form of community activism. “We must […] enter these rooms [de tribunaux] to try to bring about a change, ”he said a few days ago duringa radio show. “Jury duty is one of those things […] that we must do, ”he continued.

Brandon Mitchell, a 31-year-old black man, assured Judge Cahill during the jury selection process that he had heard little about the George Floyd case and that nothing would prevent him from serving as an impartial juror. He also said he had not attended demonstrations against police brutality. Brandon Mitchell, however, participated in a march in Washington last August, during which members of George Floyd’s family gave speeches. A photo posted on social networks also shows him wearing a Black Lives Matter hat and a t-shirt that says “Take your knees off our necks”, a message that refers to the arrest of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin.

Police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on April 20 of the murder of George Floyd, following a trial concluding a resounding case that has deeply marked America by illustrating the racial divisions in the country. The 12 jurors who were deliberating in Minneapolis found the officer guilty of all three counts for which he was appearing. Judge Peter Cahill will hand down sentence in a few weeks. Derek Chauvin faces 12 and a half years in prison but his sentence could be increased if the magistrate concludes that there are aggravating circumstances.

The death of the black forty-something had shocked American public opinion and beyond the borders of the United States, triggering gigantic demonstrations, some of which were punctuated by violence.

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