As we worked our way through the trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, the voir dire process nearly drew as much attention as the trial itself. Given the wall-to-wall coverage the entire saga generated in news reports across the nation, finding more than a dozen people who were sincerely unbiased and (hopefully) not all that familiar with the story was always going to be a challenge. There were also concerns from BLM supporters that there would be (presumably racist) white jurors who would hold out for a deadlocked jury. In the end, however, they seated the required number of people.
But were all of the jurors honest about their positions while being questioned by the prosecution and the defense? That’s the question that’s being raised this week. One of the jurors who has since gone public, Brandon Mitchell (formerly known as Juror #52), has shown up on social media sporting some apparel and offering quotes indicating that he was not only far more familiar with the case than he had let on, but most definitely had a position as to what had happened. Given the answers that Mitchell provided during questioning, this could call the entire validity of the trial into question. (Daily Wire)
One of the jurors who served on the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin reportedly sported a Black Lives Matter T-shirt with a reference to the death of George Floyd, seemingly challenging what the juror told the Chauvin defense team during jury selection.
According to a report from The Post Millennial, now-public juror Brandon Mitchell, 31, is seen in a Facebook post published in August 2020 wearing a hat that says “Black Lives Matter” and a T-shirt that says “BLM” with the words, “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” a reference to the death of Floyd.
The photo was posted by a Travis Mitchell with the caption, “The next Generation being socially active representing in DC my son Marzell, my nephew Brandon Rene Mitchell, and brotha Maurice Jauntiness Johnson.”
Here’s the photo in question, tweeted out by Jack Posobiec.
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 2, 2021
As the Daily Wire notes, that garb flies in the face of what Mitchell told the judge on March 15 when he was asked if he was aware of the Chauvin case and George Floyd. He responded by saying that he’d heard “some basic info about trial dates, etc from the news”, but not the sort of information “that would keep him from serving as an impartial juror.”
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
It turns out that Mitchell had more than a shirt and a hat. He also ran a podcast covering George Floyd and other racial justice issues. He’s also gone on to give an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he described how he decided to go public to help “push for change” and told of his many negative experiences dealing with law enforcement when he was younger.
If Mr. Mitchell was truly unfamiliar with the George Floyd case before joining the jury, he’s certainly made up for lost time in a hurry. But that seems patently preposterous. So where does that leave us now? The judge in the case has already raised the prospect of this verdict being torn apart during appeals by the antics of Congresswoman Maxine Waters prior to the opening arguments being made. And now we have this mess dumped on top of it all.
I still have the feeling that Derek Chauvin was probably guilty of something, though proving murder (which generally implies intent and premeditation) seemed like an awfully long leap. Then again, Minnesota writes many of its laws in such an odd fashion that it’s hard to be sure. But we probably don’t need to be going through this entire trial again from scratch. Sadly, with these most recent developments, I would say the odds of that happening have just increased.