Minnesota Prosecutor Appears to Compare Violating State COVID-19 Orders with BLM Riots, Jan. 6 During Jury Selection

The Albert Lea City Attorney prosecuting the owner of the Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro for serving customers inside appeared to compare the violation of COVID-19 orders with Black Lives Matter riots and January 6th during the jury selection process. 

As reported by the Minnesota Sun, Melissa Hanson is representing herself sui juris, which means to have the “full legal capacity to act on one’s own behalf.” 

City Attorney Kelly Martinez asked prospective jurors if any of them had participated in Black Lives Matter protests Tuesday during the jury selection process. While no jurors admitted that they had, Martinez continued the questioning, asking if any of them had witnessed a George Floyd protest. 

She continued by asking jurors how they felt during the protests and what their perception was of the “unlawful conduct” that she alleged may have occurred during the protests. 

Following a bench meeting, the judge ruled that Martinez could not ask those types of questions of the jury pool. 

Hanson faces nine misdemeanors.

“Originally there were six for violations of the executive order, then were two more, and then one for disturbing the peace,” Albert Lea City Manager Ian Rigg said.