Though the trial of former Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin is over after the jury convicted him of all three charges he was facing with regard to George Floyd’s death, new stories are emerging about some of the jurors involved in the high-profile case.
According to Fox News, the first juror who came out publicly to speak to the media shortly after the trial was Brandon Mitchell, a Black man, who is now under fire for a photo that shows him at a 2020 Washington D.C. rally sporting a shirt that read “Get your knee off our neck,” along with the “BLM” logo, which stands for Black Lives Matter.
What’s the problem?
Given the gravity of the Chauvin case and the fact that jurors are selected on the basis that they’ll come to an impartial decision, after the photo emerged, some have called Mitchell’s impartiality into question, as his clothing — along with a BLM hat — clearly shows his support for the movement.
Since BLM activists are typically not fans of police officers and their involvement in incidents with Black members of the community, such as the tragic situation that unfolded with Floyd in 2020, it’s not a stretch to raise questions over whether Mitchell made his decision as a juror based on the law, or based on emotion.
According to the Star Tribune, Mitchell told the outlet that the photo was from a D.C. rally commemorating the powerful and famous “I have a dream” speech given by the late Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963
The juror insisted that his appearance at the rally was not based on his feelings about the Floyd situation, even though the “Get your knee off our neck” slogan on the shirt he wore that day was a direct reference to the Floyd incident.
“The opportunity to go to DC, the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of Black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something,” Mitchell told the outlet.
What about the questionnaire?
As is typical of any jury case, prospective jurors are usually asked to fill out a questionnaire as a way for the defense and prosecution to rule out or dial on jurors they believe would be a good fit for the case. One of the questions on Mitchell’s questionnaire asked about his attendance at rallies or demonstrations.
“Did you, or someone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?” the first question read.
“Other than what you have already described above, have you, or anyone close to you, participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality?” another question asked. Mitchell told the Star Tribune that he replied “no” to both of those important questions.
Because of the obvious conflicting information, there’s now a chance that Chauvin’s lawyers could file an appeal based on that information, according to jury consultant Alan Tuerkheimer.
“That could change the outcome of things; if there is anything that makes him seem that he was not forthcoming, it could be an avenue for the judge to reconsider the case,” Tuerkheimer said.