A photo that recently surfaced online of a juror in the Derek Chauvin murder case wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt has raised questions about his impartiality, according to reports.
Juror Brandon Mitchell, 31, who is black, can be seen in the photo, wearing a T-shirt adorned with a photo of Martin Luther King Jr., and the phrases “Get your knee off our necks” and “BLM.” In the photo, he also wears a Black Lives Matter hat.
Mitchell was the first member of the jury to convict Chauvin of the murder of George Floyd, who publicly commented on the trial.
In an interview with the Star Tribune on Monday, Mitchell said the photo was taken at a rally in Washington last summer in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.̵
Mitchell told the newspaper his uncle posted the photo on social media.
The juror insisted that the DC march had nothing to do with George Floyd.
“It was directly related to MLK’s march in Washington in the 1960s … The date of the march in Washington is the date,” he told the newspaper.
“I have never been [Washington] DC, ”Mitchell said, explaining why we attended the rally.
“The opportunity to go to DC, the opportunity to be about thousands and thousands of black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something. “
During the jury selection process, each candidate member of the jury must answer a questionnaire that includes questions about participation in demonstrations and protests.
“Have you or anyone close to you participated in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd?” A question read, according to the newspaper.
The other asked, “Apart from what you have already described above, have you or anyone close to you participated in protests for the use of force by the police or police brutality?”
Mitchell told the Tribune he said no to both questions.
“I think I was certainly extremely honest,” Mitchell said of the jury selection process. “I gave my views on everything – the case, the Black Lives Matter.”
Jury consultant Alan Turkheimer told The Washington Post that the answers to Mitchell’s questionnaire could lead to an appeal by Chauvin’s lawyer. The judge may also summon Mitchell for questioning, Tuerkheimer said.
“It simply came to our notice then. if there is something that makes him look like he has not come, it could be a way for the judge to reconsider the case, “Tuerkheimer told the newspaper.
Civil rights lawyer Brian Dunn, meanwhile, told The Washington Post that the photo “undoubtedly suggests possible bias in this juror.”
Dunn said a more detailed examination would be needed to determine whether Mitchell “lied or did not give full answers as to whether he was involved in public activism.”
“If it is found that the juror did not provide full disclosure of the defense, then the question arises as to whether this lack of openness violated Mr Chauvin’s right to a fair trial,” Dunn said.