Brandon Mitchell, the first of the jurors in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial to speak publicly about it, claimed after the case that the evidence for a guilty verdict was “overwhelming.”
Mitchell, who is black, also expressed surprise in an interview that it took the jury 10 hours to convict Chauvin.
But even if the jury rejected or simply ignored plausible evidence that George Floyd died last May 25 from a drug overdose combined with a heart condition, Chauvin’s conviction may now be in doubt.
And Mitchell might be the reason.
The Washington Times reported on Monday night that Mitchell “may have jeopardized the guilty verdict by attending a rally last year and wearing a ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks/BLM’ T-shirt, raising questions about whether he told the truth during jury selection.”
Mitchell apparently attended a rally in Washington last August that featured speeches by Floyd’s relatives and at which he wore, in addition to the provocative T-shirt, a Black Lives Matter hat.
Mitchell told local media in Minneapolis that the rally was to pump up voter registration for the upcoming presidential election.
Yet during jury selection, according to the Times, he answered “No” when asked if he ever attended any rallies for Floyd or to protest police brutality.
“This particular march was more so for voting, voter registration. Getting people out to get out and vote for the presidential election that was upcoming a couple of months afterward … This was the only thing I attended,” Mitchell insisted.
Yet, the Times reported, the National Action Network, the civil rights organization led by firebrand MSNBC host Al Sharpton, promoted the event as “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” a reference to the argument that Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck – although that was disputed at trial – caused his death. Meanwhile, the Times added, “several” Floyd family members spoke.
The Times noted that several legal experts believe if the defense could show Mitchell was not truthful about the nature of the rally or his participation, it could be grounds for a mistrial.
The Post Millennial, a conservative news website in Canada, reported that during jury selection Mitchell told the judge he could be impartial.
But in an interview with a podcaster last week, Mitchell reportedly said service on juries is a way to foment radical social change.
“I mean it’s important if we wanna see some change, we wanna see some things going different, we gotta into these avenues, get into these rooms to try to spark some change,” Mitchell told interviewer Erica Campbell.
“Jury duty is one of those things. Jury duty. Voting. All of those things we gotta do.”
The Post Millennial also reported, “Mitchell added that he wasn’t impressed by any of the witnesses Chauvin’s defense called up” – which one might expect of an activist sympathetic to BLM.
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