Regardless of your take on a jury finding former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, it would be difficult to deny that the men and women sitting on that jury panel fully understood what the consequences would be if they voted for an acquittal.
In fact, a woman who sat as an alternate on the jury has pretty much said as much.
After all, there was a mob already in the streets over the reportedly accidental police shooting of criminal suspect Daunte Wright as the jury deliberated.
Brooklyn Center resident Lisa Christensen spoke with KARE11 about her role on the jury, and when asked if she wanted to be a juror, Christensen offered a telling reply.
“I had mixed feelings,” she said. “I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again, and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.”
The city of Minneapolis was significantly damaged during the rioting that followed Floyd’s death, with many of the scars from the looting and burning still visible today.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested during an appearance on Fox News the Chauvin jury may have voted to convict him because it was “scared of what a mob may do.”
The Republican governor was responding to a clip of a black man declaring, “If you continue to allow us to be murdered in the streets without justice, we will raise hell in America.”
“I don’t know what happened with this verdict, but if that’s something that can potentially happen, where you basically have justice made meted out because the jury is scared of what a mob may do?” DeSantis said. “And again I’m not saying that’s what happened here, but that speaker seemed to suggest that that had an impact, that’s completely antithetical to the rule of law.”
Christensen told the NBC affiliate she had no idea that she was one of two alternates until the judge dismissed her before the 12 jurors were sequestered — the jurors were reportedly allowed to go home at night, and were not sequestered until deliberating for a verdict.
And, according to Christensen, may have had to navigate protester-filled streets at night.
I just had a fascinating sit-down interview with one of the alternate jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial.
Lisa Christensen was the juror who lived in Brooklyn Center. One night she could hardly make it home after testimony ended because of protesters blocking intersections. pic.twitter.com/KUtHSOGm8N
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) April 22, 2021
She said she lived about six blocks from the Brooklyn Center Police Department and could hear the protests underway after Wright’s death.
“I could hear everything. When I came home, I could hear the helicopters flying over my house… I could hear the flashbangs going off. If I stepped outside, I could see the smoke from the grenades,” she said. “One day, the trial ran a little late, and I had trouble getting to my house, because the protesters were blocking the interstate, so I had to go way around. I was aware, but it did not affect me at all.”
Christensen said she would have voted guilty, though she admitted that she did not fully understand the rules for deliberation, as explained by the judge.
KARE11’s Lou Raguse shared online that the jurors were so intimidated that they didn’t even share their real names with each other.
He tweeted: “This was shocking to me, but Christensen told me she and the other jurors didn’t even share their real names and occupations with each other. Just called each other by juror number. Got along but mostly made small talk. Concerned about saying too much.'”
This was shocking to me, but Christensen told me she and the other jurors didn’t even share their real names and occupations with each other. Just called each other by juror number. Got along but mostly made small talk. Concerned about saying “too much.”
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) April 22, 2021
Here’s a sampling of the responses to the story from Twitter, culminating with the observation: “They were afraid.”
Just from what she said… how did the judge not sequester jurors from the start? I know my opinion would be highly influenced if I had to go to trial and then drive home in this situation, knowing if you give a not guilty verdict those same protestors would be at your house.
— Jaymore Parcell (@fightmilkceo) April 22, 2021
Quack. Quack quack quack. Quack. Quack quack.
— DuckRobbins (@DuckRobbins) April 23, 2021
You really buried the lead here
“I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict”
— dont worry about it (@ShaunKingLies) April 23, 2021
You may have just secured the mistrial. Now the mob will be coming for you. Good times. Thanks, media.
— Dr. John Doe, JD, MBA, Esq. (@XtamerlaneX) April 23, 2021
I am sure the rest of the jurors were fearful as she was.
Founding him guilty on all the counts, show they didn’t even
look at the evidence. They say; “Let’s quickly say he’s guilty &
Let’s get out of here.🏃🏿”
— Bluebugaboo (@Bluebugaboo2) April 23, 2021
Thanks for reaching YOUR verdict based on a MOB rule.
— Big Pimpin Milo. (@ChickenNugLover) April 22, 2021
And then she says the riots were no influence on her. Riiiiggght…
— Deplorable❌Dreg of Society🇺🇸 (@Katieleigh01) April 23, 2021
They were afraid https://t.co/77ChMKQIWx
— ThunderB (@Pimpernell13) April 23, 2021
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