The judge presiding over the Derek Chauvin trial on Monday slammed California Rep. Maxine Waters’ “abhorrent” remarks encouraging more riots. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill denied a motion for a mistrial, but noted that Waters’ comments over the weekend could give the defense “something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
The judge was responding to Chauvin defense attorney Eric Nelson’s request for a mistrial.
“We have U.S. representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to the specific case— it’s mind boggling to me, judge,” Nelson said after the jury began deliberations on Monday.
After traveling to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota to attend a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Sunday, Waters was asked what protesters should do if Chauvin is not found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
Waters answered they need to get “more active” and “more confrontational.”
“We’ve got to stay on the street,” the Democrat told a group of agitators. “And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) to BLM protesters in Brooklyn Center, MN:
“[Protestors] got to stay on the street and get more active, more confrontational. They’ve got to know that we mean business.” pic.twitter.com/GLIPoLwZnd
— Bree A Dail (@breeadail) April 18, 2021
Waters had crossed state lines to attend a demonstration protesting the more recent death of Daunte Wright, who was killed by a police officer when she accidentally reached for her firearm instead of her taser. Wright had a violent criminal history, and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest at the time he was shot.
“I’m aware that Congresswoman Waters was speaking specifically about this trial, and about the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction, and talk about being confrontational, Cahill said.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” Cahill lamented.
“If they want to give their opinions they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution to respect a coequal branch of government,” he continued.
The judge said that such disrespectful comments from elected officials like Waters’ were “abhorrent,” but not prejudicial because the jurors have been instructed to not watch the news.
“A congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot,” Cahill said. “Motion for mistrial is denied.”
The judge did say that Waters’ weekend remarks could give the defense “something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
"A congresswoman's opinion really doesn't matter a whole lot." pic.twitter.com/uq7nhQgLKE
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 19, 2021
Republican leaders on Monday denounced Waters for stoking violence with her remarks.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that he will introduce a resolution to censure the California congresswoman.
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tore into the Democrat, saying, “it’s harder to imagine anything more inappropriate than a member of Congress flying in from California to inform local leaders – not so subtly – that this defendant had better be found guilty or else there will be big trouble in the streets,’ McConnell said on the Senate floor.”
“It is beyond the pale for a sitting member of the United States Congress to look at what happened last summer and imply there should be some kind of a sequel if a legal case does not unfold as she thinks it should,” he said.
Rep. Steven Scalise (R-La.) blasted Waters’ “dangerous rhetoric” on Twitter, and demanded condemnation from democrats and their allies in the media.
Let's be clear: Maxine Waters knew her rhetoric would incite violence in Minneapolis—but she doesn't care, she just requests police escorts for herself.
I was shot because of this kind of dangerous rhetoric.
Where is the outrage from Dems & the media? They need to condemn this.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) April 19, 2021