Derek Chauvin juror could have risked the guilty verdict claim experts by attending BLM rally in DC


One of the jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd last month defended his participation in a BLM protest last summer in Washington, DC, amid speculation it might be grounds for the cop’s appeal.

A photo, posted on social media, shows Brandon Mitchell attending an August 28 event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech during the 1963 March on Washington.  

It shows Mitchell, a high school basketball coach, standing with two other men and wearing a T-shirt with a picture of King and the words, ‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS’ and ‘BLM’. He is also wearing a baseball cap printed with Black Lives Matter. 

Mitchell has admitted the photo is of him from that date, but defended attending the rally, claiming it was not explicitly a protest against police or a commemoration for George Floyd.  

Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of other African Americans who have been shot by police addressed the crowd that day.  

Mitchell and Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, have not returned messages from DailyMail.com seeking comment. 

A photo, posted on social media, shows Brandon Mitchell, who is black, attending the August 28 event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech during the 1963 March on Washington. It shows Mitchell (far right) standing with two cousins and wearing a T-shirt with a picture of King and the words, ‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS’ and ‘BLM,’ for Black Lives Matter.

In this April 28, 2021 file photo, Brandon Mitchell, a juror in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, poses for a picture, in Minneapolis. Mitchell defended his participation in protest in Washington last summer in the wake of online speculation about his motives for serving on the jury

In this April 28, 2021 file photo, Brandon Mitchell, a juror in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, poses for a picture, in Minneapolis. Mitchell defended his participation in protest in Washington last summer in the wake of online speculation about his motives for serving on the jury

Mitchell was one of 12 jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin (above) of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter on April 20

Mitchell was one of 12 jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin (above) of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter on April 20

Mitchell was one of 12 jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin (above) of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter on April 20

Pictured: Derek Chauvin during the incident that ended George Floyd's life

Pictured: Derek Chauvin during the incident that ended George Floyd’s life

Mitchell, 31, acknowledged being at the event and that his uncle posted the photo, but said he doesn’t recall wearing or owning the shirt.

Mitchell was one of 12 jurors who convicted Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

Mitchell, the first juror to go public, spoke to several media outlets last week, including The Associated Press. 

‘I’d never been to DC,’ Mitchell said of his reasons for attending the event. 

‘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.’

Mike Brandt, a Minneapolis defense attorney not involved in the case, told the AP the revelation alone wasn’t nearly enough to overturn Chauvin’s conviction, but it could be combined with other issues – the announcement of a massive civil settlement to Floyd’s family during jury selection, the shooting of Daunte Wright, the judge’s refusal to move the trial – in an appeal to say Chauvin was denied a fair trial.

Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, told the AP that the photo of Mitchell was ‘evidence that Chauvin can point to in order to establish that his right to an impartial jury was denied.’

Mitchell attended an August 28 rally in Washington, DC which was officially known as 'Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.' On his jury questionnaire, Mitchell wrote 'No' when asked if he attended an anti-police brutality rally

Mitchell attended an August 28 rally in Washington, DC which was officially known as ‘Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.’ On his jury questionnaire, Mitchell wrote ‘No’ when asked if he attended an anti-police brutality rally

Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, was one of the speakers at the rally

Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, was one of the speakers at the rally

He added: ‘Speaking frankly, Chauvin did not have a fully impartial jury in the sense we usually give criminal defendants. That wasn’t the fault of the judge or the prosecutors, it was simply a function of the incredible publicity and public pressure’ surrounding the trial.

Mitchell said he answered ‘no’ to two questions about demonstrations on the questionnaire sent out before jury selection.

The first question asked: ‘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 second asked: ‘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?’

Mitchell told Nelson during jury selection that he had a ‘very favorable’ opinion of Black Lives Matter, that he knew some police officers at his gym who are ‘great guys,’ and that he felt neutral about Blue Lives Matter, a pro-police group. 

He also said he had watched clips of bystander video of Floyd being pinned and had wondered why three other officers at the scene didn´t intervene.

He said he could be neutral at trial.

Mitchell told the Star Tribune that last summer’s protest was ‘100 per cent not’ a march for Floyd.

‘It was directly related to MLK’s March on Washington from the ’60s … The date of the March on Washington is the date … It was literally called the anniversary of the March on Washington,’ he said.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUROR QUESTIONNAIRE IN DEREK CHAUVIN MURDER TRIAL

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