Photos that have recently emerged showing one of the jurors who convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin wearing a BLM shirt and admitting that he attended a BLM protest in DC over the summer.
The juror, Brandon Mitchell is seen in the photo wearing a shirt with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and text saying “Get your knee off our neck” and “BLM.” Mitchell is also wearing a “Black Lives Matter” hat in the photo.
Mitchell is the first member of the jury to come out publicly. During an interview with the Star Tribune, Mitchell stated that the photo is from a rally in DC that commemorated MLK’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech. Mitchell insisted that the march had nothing to do with Floyd.
“I’d never been to [Washington] D.C.,” said Mitchell when asked why he attended the march. “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.”
“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,” insisted Mitchell.
During the selection process, jurors were asked two questions:
“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?” asked one of the first questions. “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?” asked the other question.
Mitchell answered “no” to both questions. Mitchell also told Chauvin’s attorney that he had a “very favorable” opinion of Black Lives Matter and that some officers are “great guys.” Mitchell also insisted that he could remain impartial.
“I think I was being extremely honest, for sure,” said Mitchell. “I gave my views on everything — on the case, on Black Lives Matter.”
Legal experts believe that Chauvin’s attorney could raise a great point regarding a mistrial during an appeal.
“If [Mitchell] specifically was asked, ‘Have you ever participated in a Black Lives Matter demonstration,’ and he answered, ‘No,’ to that, I think that would be an important appealable issue,” said Joseph Daly, emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law to the Star Tribune.