Chauvin Juror Was BLM Protestor, Mistrial Possible?

Is this like a horror movie, where the pressure on the jury wasn’t necessarily coming from outside the court, but from inside the jury box? Maybe.

Juror #52 in the Derek Chauvin trial decided to make his media debut and reveal his identity. Brandon Mitchell was identified during the trial as a black male in his 30’s, who claimed to have witnessed “excessive force” by police, but claimed to also personally know police officers at his gym that he liked. During voir dire, neither defense or prosecution raised an objection to Mitchell as a juror.

Mitchell also affirmed his impartiality a few days later when the city of Minneapolis settled with the Floyd family to the tune of $27 million. At the time, no one knew who he was, but he was quoted in the CBS news story about the jurors who were dismissed when the settlement news broke.

(Judge) Cahill retained five other jurors, including a Black man in his 30s who told Cahill he heard about the settlement on the radio Friday evening but could put it aside and decide the case only on evidence presented in the courtroom.”

“It hasn’t affected me at all because I don’t know the details,” he said.”

Well, now we know that Brandon Mitchell, Juror #52, was quite familiar with the George Floyd case and the prosecution of Derek Chauvin. At a minimum, he was aware enough of the case to go protest about it in Washington, DC, in August of 2020.

First reported by The Post-Millennial and since covered by other outlets, a photo from a Facebook post of Brandon Mitchell in Washington, DC shows him wearing a t-shirt that reads, circling a photo of Martin Luther King, “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks – BLM” while standing with two other men, one of whom is identified in the post as Mitchell’s cousin.

Mitchell now says that he was just in DC to “be a part of something.”

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.”

“I’d never been to D.C.,” Mitchell said of his reasons for attending the event. “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 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?”

Oh, so because this march was in DC and not Minneapolis, Mitchell figured it was fine to serve on the jury. I am guessing the defense, had they known about this photo and his attendance at that march, would have objected to him serving on the jury.

Did Mitchell lie on his juror questionnaire? It’s likely, but I am guessing that he will never be charged with that.

Is this enough to have the Chauvin verdict tossed out and a mistrial declared? I am not a lawyer, but the lawyers who are being interviewed about this are uncertain that this alone would trigger a mistrial.

Jury consultant Alan Tuerkheimer said it is likely Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric J. Nelson will use this information to push for an appeal to the verdict but argued the photo itself would not be enough to dismiss the conviction.”

Tuerkheimer added that the fact Mitchell allegedly denied being involved in any protests could however prompt judge Peter A. Cahill to bring Mitchell in for further questioning to assess whether he was untruthful, or worse, if he had an agenda or a predetermined verdict in mind.”

“That could change the outcome of things, if there is anything that makes him seem that he was not forthcoming it could be an avenue for the judge to reconsider the case,” Tuerkheimer said, adding it is a “high standard” that Cahill would consider since he is likely not inclined to toss the entire trial and start from square one.”

However, it is highly likely that the defense is going to move for a mistrial on the grounds that Mitchell lied on his juror questionnaire, and will again raise the point that there is no way that Derek Chauvin got a fair trial in Minneapolis. The grounds for appeal just keep stacking up. The judge refused a change of venue. The judge refused to sequester the jury. Maxine Waters’s comments. Joe Biden’s comments. Nancy Pelosi’s comments. Attempted after-the-fact witness intimidation.

I think Judge Cahill, given his previous record, simply punts and tells the Chauvin defense to add this into their very long list of reasons for appealing the verdict. Any appeals court was going to have a difficult time having enough backbone to stand up to the mob to overturn a verdict and order a new trial for Derek Chauvin. However, Brandon Mitchell, in his desire for fame, may have just been the straw that breaks the camel’s back. And wouldn’t THAT just be a fine piece of irony?

Featured image via Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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