A juror who served on the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of the death of George Floyd in May 2020, is defending his decision to attend a racial justice rally in Washington, D.C., back in August, challenging statements he made during the juror selection process.
The juror claimed the demonstration had nothing to do with the death of Floyd, despite the rally focusing on police brutality and spotlighting comments from the Floyd family.
The Daily Wire reported that Brandon Mitchell, juror #52, was seen sporting a Black Lives Matter T-shirt referencing Floyd on it. The photo was reportedly taken in D.C., where Mitchell took part in a rally commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
“I’d never been to D.C.,” Mitchell told the Star Tribune. “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 confirmed that the photo on social media was posted by his uncle, but claims that he had “no recollection of wearing or owning the shirt.”
Defending his attendance, Mitchell stated that the march was “100 percent not” a demonstration 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,” he said.
The Star Tribune noted that the demonstration in part “focused on police use of force.” Moreover, “Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and family members of others who have been shot by police addressed the crowd.”
The rally “served as a rallying point for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a federal police reform bill,” the report added.
During his juror questionnaire, Mitchell allegedly answered “no” when questioned about his past participation in demonstrations:
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?”
When Mitchell was asked by Judge Peter Cahill on March 15, 2021 if he knew anything about the Chauvin/Floyd case, he said no, according to FOX 9 reporter Paul Blume.
“Judge Cahill asked Juror #52, whether he heard anything about the #GeorgeFloyd civil case,” Blume reported at the time. “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 an impartial juror. #ChauvinTrial.”