A photo recently surfaced online showing a juror on the Derek Chauvin murder trial sporting Black Lives Matter gear, sparking legal questions over whether an appeal – or mistrial – is justified.
Brandon Mitchell, juror #52, is shown in a photo wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and the phrases “get your knee off our neck” and “BLM.” He is also sporting a “Black Lives Matter Hat” while attending the 57th anniversary of King’s historic “I have a Dream” speech in August of 2020.
What’s more, George Floyd’s family spoke during the event.
Mitchell, the first juror to publicly comment on the trial, told a news outlet that he was there to take part in a voter registration rally, claiming he was unbiased as a juror in Floyd’s murder trial, BizPacReview reports.
“It was huge to get people geared for voter turnout, so being part of that, being able to attend, you know, the same location where Martin Luther King gave his speech was a historic moment,” Mitchell said. “Either way, I was going to D.C. for this event, even if George Floyd was still alive.”
The issue at hand is this: during the jury selection process, each prospective juror was required to answer a questionnaire that included questions about participation in demonstrations and protests.
“Did you, or someone else close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?” one question read.
The other asked: “Other than what you have already described above, have you, or anyone else close to you, participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality?”
Mitchell told the news outlet that he replied “no” to both questions.
“I think I was being extremely honest, for sure,” he said. “I gave my views on everything – on the case, on Black Lives Matter.”
But, whether or not he thinks he was being honest, he blatantly failed to disclose specific information pertaining to the case, which could lead to an appeal by Chauvin’s attorney. Legal experts say that, at the very least, Mitchell will be questioned again in what is called a Schwartz hearing. Depending on his answers, a mistrial could potentially be declared.