One of the jurors who controversially convicted Derek Chauvin of the murder of George Floyd last month is now facing accusations of bias over newly-unearthed photos, according to the New York Post.
The juror is 31-year-old Brandon Mitchell, a black man who was photographed at a protest last summer wearing both a t-shirt and a hat bearing the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” The shirt also featured an image of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the phrase “get your knee off our neck,” a direct reference to the controversial and unsubstantiated claim that Chauvin was putting his knee directly onto Floyd’s neck last year, even though evidence that emerged in the trial indicated that his knee was actually on Floyd’s back and shoulder blade, not his neck.
In an interview he gave on Monday, Mitchell insisted that the protest he attended had nothing to do with the George Floyd case, and was instead a commemoration of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
“I’d never been to D.C.,” Mitchell explained. “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 part of something.”
Nevertheless, Mitchell’s attendance at the protest, as well as his wearing such clothing, indicates that he lied during his jury selection process. One of the questions 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 question expanded the scope of the first question beyond Minneapolis by asking “Other than what you have already described above, have you, or anyone close to you, participated in any protests about police use of force or police brutality?”
Mitchell answered “no” to both questions, falsely claiming on Monday that “I was being extremely honest, for sure.”
The revelations about Mitchell have some legal experts suggesting that a legitimate appeal on the conviction could be made by Chauvin’s defense team. There had been previous suggestions about a possible appeal and overturning of the conviction after several prominent elected officials, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Joe Biden openly suggested, prior to the verdict, that Chauvin should be found guilty. Chauvin was ultimately convicted on all three counts, which included second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, even though the official autopsy report confirmed that Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose.