Legal questions are now being raised over one of the jurors who voted to convict former officer Derek Chauvin and they have the potential to justify an appeal, or even possibly have a mistrial declared in the matter.
A photo is circulating on social media showing juror #52 Brandon Mitchell wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt while attending the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in August of 2020. The shirt features an image of King and text that reads “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” and “BLM.” He was also wearing a BLM hat.
George Floyd’s family spoke briefly during the event. Mitchell told WCCO-TV that he was there to take part in a voter registration rally. He says he was not there to protest and claims he was unbiased as a juror in Floyd’s murder trial.
“It was huge to get people geared for voter turnout, so being a part of that, being able to attend, you know, the same location where Martin Luther King gave his speech was a historic moment,” Mitchell told the outlet. “Either way, I was going to D.C. for this event, even if George Floyd was still alive.”
(Video Credit: WCCO – CBS Minnesota)
He went on to state that he was wearing the shirt because of events in 2020, not because he was attending a protest for Floyd. “Not even close, not even close,” Mitchell proclaimed.
The issue that is throwing the verdict in the Chauvin trial into question has to do with a questionnaire that Mitchell filled out when being interviewed as a juror. He answered “no” when asked if he had attended any protests for George Floyd.
In a Facebook post that is dated August 31, 2020, Mitchell was pictured wearing a T-shirt with the words “Get your knee off our necks” and “BLM.” This seems to contradict his statements regarding the case.
Legal experts are now stating that, at the very least, he will have to be questioned again in what is called a Schwartz hearing, according to WCCO-TV. Depending on his answers, a mistrial could possibly be declared.
“Did the juror speak the truth? Or alternatively, did the juror say something untrue during questioning?” law professor Rachel Moran from the University of St. Thomas asked. “But the other thing to keep in mind is did the lawyers do their job in investigating the juror?”
“If [Mitchell] specifically was asked, ‘Have you ever participated in a Black Lives Matter demonstration,’ and he answered, ‘No,’ to that, I think that would be an important appealable issue,” Joseph Daly, emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law said to the Star-Tribune.
On the questionnaire, Mitchell claimed he never attended protests over police brutality in Minnesota or anywhere else. He also reportedly said concerning Black Lives Matter: “Black lives just want to be treated as equals and not killed or treated in an aggressive manner simply because they are black.”
“I think they asked if I attended any protests for George Floyd or anything for police brutality. My answer was no because I hadn’t,” Mitchell told WCCO-TV. “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 months afterward … This was the only thing I attended.”
Judge Cahill asked Juror #52, whether he heard anything about the #GeorgeFloyd civil case. He says, no. He explained hearing some basic info about trial dates, etc from the news in recent months, but nothing that would keep him from serving as impartial juror. #ChauvinTrial
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) March 15, 2021
Juror #52 wrote in his jury questionnaire that he wondered why other police officers at the scene did not intervene in #GeorgeFloyd deadly arrest. He recognizes the historic nature of the case. Defense says he is an acceptable juror. So state's turn to question. #DerekChauvinTral
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) March 15, 2021
Photos that were taken at the event show demonstrators wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts and carrying BLM flags. They also brandished signs with messages proclaiming, “I Can’t Breathe,” echoing what Floyd repeatedly told police before he passed away.
“The march that he went to, which was on August 28, 2020, was specifically about police brutality,” criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino commented. “In fact, it was partly advertised as ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’ and it had speakers with the Floyd family, Breonna Taylor, and Jacob Blake.”
The defense has the right to ask Judge Peter Cahill to re-question Mitchell and then decide if the verdict will stand.
-Black male: 30's
-In banking, coaches kids' sports
-Has witnessed police excessive force
-Discrimination is beyond what media can even report
-Police don't necessarily make him feel safe, but there are officers at his gym who are "great guys"#DerekChauvinTrial pic.twitter.com/C0KhYln9F9
— Serene 𓅓 (@MythSerene) April 18, 2021
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