Chauvin juror lied on jury application, attended at least one anti-Chauvin rally prior to trial
Social media picture with anti-cop slogan also adds to the issue of whether Chauvin's conviction should be thrown out
Juror Brandon Mitchell (right) who helped convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, wore a BLM t-shirt to a rally in Washington, D.C. where Floyd’s brother and sister spoke to rally support to convict Chauvin. (Photo: Facebook)
A juror in the trial of former cop Derek Chauvin not only misled the court about his knowledge of the death of George Floyd but also lied on the questionnaire jurors must answer before trial.
The truth about Brandon Mitchell surfaced in the last few days when a photo of the juror in a pro-Floyd T-shirt surfaced online. The photo was taken at a rally for Floyd in Washington, D.C., that Mitchell falsely said he did not attend when he filled out his juror application form.
The latest means that Chauvin, convicted of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death, has even more grounds to appeal his conviction. A juror most likely had his mind made up before he entered the courtroom, despite his promise of impartiality.
“I’d never been to [Washington] D.C.,” Mitchell told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune regarding his attendance at the rally. “The opportunity to go to D.C., 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 claimed the rally was really a 57th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech, delivered on the Washington Mall in August 1963. Later in the interview, however, Mitchell appeared to admit that it was, in fact, a demonstration on behalf of Chauvin’s alleged victim.
He stated the event was “100% not” a march for Floyd, adding, “It was directly related to MLK’s March on Washington from the ’60s … The date of the March on Washington is the date.”
That is true. What Mitchell did not say was that that the commemoration of the MLK speech was hijacked by Black Lives Matter and turned into an anti-cop, racist event that threw in multiple condemnations of whites for good measure.
Mitchell’s subterfuge is exposed by the fact that Floyd’s sister and brother spoke at the event as they sought to rally support for the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” a federal police reform bill that promotes ideas like “defunding” of the police and disarming police officers.
A juror who lied on his jury application questionnaire about participating in anti-cop rallies also claimed not to know “much of anything” about the civil settlement the City of Minneapolis agreed to with the Floyd family prior to the criminal trial. (Photo: David K. Lu/Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Mitchell confessed that he answered ‘no’ to two questions in the juror questionnaire sent out before jury selection that asked about participation in demonstrations. The asked if potential jurors like Mitchell, or someone close to them, participated in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death. It also asked if the potential juror had, or if anyone close to them had participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality.
As for the social-media post that revealed his BLM sympathies, Mitchell says he’s clueless. The post includes a photo in which he wears a shirt that says “Get your knee off our necks.” The shirt is a reference to the type of restraint Chauvin employed in restraining George Floyd.
But Mitchell claims he does not remember wearing the shirt. He told the court during voir dire — the formal examination of a prospective juror under oath to determine suitability for jury service — that he had little knowledge of the civil case in which the city settled with Floyd’s family for $27 million.
Attorney Mike Padden, second chair on the Chauvin defense team, told America’s Conservative Voice (ACV) that Chauvin’s lead attorney, Eric Nelson, would have moved to strike Mitchell if he had known about Mitchell’s lies. He went on to say that, if the judge denied the strike, he would have used a peremptory strike to remove him.
Cornell University law professor William Jacobson, author of the Legal Insurrection blog, went further in condemning Mitchell’s actions when contacted by ACV.
“Mitchell lied under any reasonable interpretation of the jury questions and his participation in the protest,” he wrote. “This could result in a mistrial.”
Chauvin already had grounds for appeal because Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) flew into Minneapolis the Saturday before closing arguments and threatened riots if the verdict was not “guilty, guilty, guilty.” After that stunt, another juror worried about a terror attack on her home.
The Cornell Law website, which devotes itself to all aspects of the law, notes in its section on criminal defense issues that “making false statements in a jury questionnaire actually can be the basis for a charge of perjury, a felony crime.”
A jury in Hennepin County, Minnesota, convicted Chauvin on April 20. While Chauvin’s actions in placing a knee on the neck of Floyd were questionable, Floyd had taken what the county medical examiner described as a “fatal dose” of fentanyl and suffered major cardiovascular problems. The autopsy did not find any life-threatening injuries.