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Picture of Chauvin Juror Raises Questions on Impartiality

Facebook post showing Brandon Mitchell in BLM T-shirt at DC march last August could affect appeal
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2021 8:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – A photo has emerged of one of the jurors in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, and it's raising questions that could affect Chauvin's appeal. Brandon Mitchell, who served on the jury that convicted the former Minneapolis police officer in the death of George Floyd, says he went to Washington, DC, last August to attend the March on Washington, a commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech, as well as an event that promoted voter registration and racial justice, per the Star Tribune. The International Business Times has a picture from Facebook of Mitchell in DC for that event, wearing a T-shirt that shows King, as well as the words "BLM" and "Get your knee off our necks"—which is how Chauvin killed Floyd. "The opportunity to go to DC, the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of Black people—I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something," Mitchell tells the Star Tribune.

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One of the issues: Mitchell had noted in a juror questionnaire that he'd never attended a protest against police brutality. The DC event had also focused on that topic, with some of Floyd's family members addressing the crowd on it. Mitchell tells WCCO he was at the march only to take part in a voter registration rally. "I was going to DC for this event, even if George Floyd was still alive," he says, noting he didn't wear the shirt in support of Floyd specifically. He adds to the Star Tribune that he was "extremely honest" during the jury selection process, including his thoughts on Black Lives Matter, and felt he could be impartial. Legal experts say this development raises issues over that, however, which could help Chauvin's appeal. Other legal sources tell WCCO the conviction could even be overturned, but the bar for that happening is a high one. "Courts are especially reluctant to interfere with the jury deliberation process," says a University of St. Thomas law professor. (Read more Derek Chauvin stories.)

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