A Derek Chauvin murder trial juror has defended his attendance of the 2020 March on Washington amid criticism from those who are attempting to push it as an angle for an appeal.
Chauvin—following a weeks-long trial during which the defense called a retired pathologist who’s at the center of a lawsuit from Anton Black’s family—was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. His sentencing hearing is set to take place next month.
Brandon Mitchell, one of the jurors in the trial, has given multiple interviews since Chauvin’s conviction. In recent days, a photo showing Mitchell at the historic March on Washington event last August has resurfaced. Mitchell is pictured with his cousins in D.C., wearing a t-shirt that read both “BLM” and “GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS.”
And while some speculative reports have circulated alleging that Mitchell said during the jury selection process that he had no prior knowledge of Chauvin’s case, Mitchell said he was “extremely honest” when interviewed as a potential juror.
“I gave my views on everything—on the case, on Black Lives Matter,” Mitchell told the Minnesota-based Star Tribune’s Chao Xiong in an interview published Tuesday. Notably, jury candidates were required to fill out a 14-page questionnaire during the process that included inquiries on a number of topics, including thoughts on policing issues and personal hobbies.
As for the trip to D.C. last August, Mitchell reflected on the historical importance of attending, stating it gave him the chance to visit the area for the first time while also having the opportunity to be around thousands of Black people in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“It was directly related to MLK’s March on Washington from the ’60s. … The date of the March on Washington is the date,” Mitchell, who also noted the event was “100 percent not” a march in support of Floyd, told the Tribune. The photo in question, he said, was originally shared by his uncle. Mitchell also noted that he answered “no” in response to a question about whether he or anyone close to him had been involved with any police brutality-related protests.
In previous interviews, Mitchell reflected on the stress of having to repeatedly watch footage throughout the trial of Chauvin killing Floyd.
“We were just stressed about the simple fact that every day we had come in and watch a Black man die,” he told Gayle King in April. “That alone is stressful. Coming in each and every day and having to watch somebody die is stressful enough by itself.”
The general consensus among court experts, as broken down in this recent AP piece, is that it’s unlikely Chauvin could secure a retrial on appeal.
Speaking with the Washington Post for a piece published Monday, jury consultant Alan Tuerkheimer explained that—while it is likely that Chauvin’s defense team will attempt to use the latest info on Mitchell as part of an appeal attempt—the photo alone “would not be enough” for a conviction dismissal.