A photo discovered on social media reveals that a juror in Derek Chauvin’s trial for killing George Floyd may have been substantially biased. Brandon Mitchell, juror 52, attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, when Floyd’s brother and sister spoke to the crowd. He was photographed wearing a T-shirt bearing the inscriptions “GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS” and “BLM,” surrounding an image of Martin Luther King Jr. Mitchell never disclosed any of these facts to the court during jury selection.
12 Angry Men
Chauvin’s appeal prospects grow greener with the revelation of juror 52’s activities. Last week, Liberty Nation reported on Mitchell’s appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America during which he disclosed that jurors violated Chauvin’s Fifth Amendment rights. Mitchell said the jury panel used Chauvin’s decision not to take the stand against him, ignoring his constitutional right not to incriminate himself. This week it seems plain bias against the defendant may be present. It would be an understatement to say prospective jurors biased against a defendant are not fit to serve on that person’s jury.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Monday, May 3, that Mitchell said, “I’d never been to [Washington] D.C.,” as his reason for attending the August 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.” If all he had done was congregate with black people in D.C., that wouldn’t amount to much of a bias claim. But he did much more and wasn’t forthright about it.
The Whole Truth …
When Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson asked Mitchell if he had posted about Floyd’s killing on social media, the prospective juror said, “No.” Mitchell also told the trial judge that he answered the juror questionnaire truthfully, and he did not wish to make any changes to his answers. Could his responses be proven untruthful or used as proof of perjury? That is not a given. What might reverse Chauvin’s fortunes on appeal does not necessarily constitute criminal liability for Mitchell.
Look at question seven from the juror form, for instance: “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?” Mitchell may legally be entitled to answer no to that question. The rally he attended took place in Washington, D.C. While that may be good news for Mitchell’s penal interest, it’s great news for Chauvin. The location of any rally Mitchell may have attended matters little compared to what Mitchell said and did there.
The juror questionnaire goes on to ask:
“If you participated, explain how much you were involved.”
“If you participated, did you carry a sign? What did it say?”
According to the Star Tribune, “Mitchell said he answered ‘no’ to two questions in the juror questionnaire sent out before jury selection that asked about participation in demonstrations.”
Since his conviction, evidence has been revealed every week that buoys Chauvin’s chances on appeal. Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd on April 20 and is scheduled for sentencing on June 16.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.