A JUROR in the Derek Chauvin trial has defended attending an anti-police protest as an expert warns it could be used to overturn the murder conviction.
Brandon Mitchell was one of the 12 jurors who convicted ex-Minneapolis cop Chauvin of second and third-degree murder and manslaughter over the killing of George Floyd.
Social media images have emerged of Mitchell attending a August 28 protest,at which Floyd's relatives spoke, while wearing a t-shirt with the words ‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS’ on the front.
The 31-year-old black man is seen standing with two cousins and wearing the T-shirt in question. The photo has recently recirculated online, the Star Tribune reported.
He has acknowledged being at the event, according to Daily Mail reports, but has said he doesn’t recall wearing or owning the shirt.
Mitchell, a high-school basketball coach, has defended his participation in the event.
It was not explicitly a protest against police or a commemoration for George Floyd, he has said.
Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when he was arrested by three policemen after a grocery employee alleged that he had used a fake $20 bill.
Police officers who located Floyd near his car claimed he “physically resisted officers” while possibly under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.
Chauvin was the cop kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes before he lost consciousness.
According to legal experts, the revelation about Mitchell’s protest attendance will likely be brought up on appeal by Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, who could argue his client was denied impartial jury.
Mitchel reportedly answered ‘no’ to two questions about demonstrations on the questionnaire sent out before jury selection.
After just under 11 hours of deliberation, the jury found Chauvin guilty on all three murder and manslaughter counts on April 20.
The 45-year-old former officer faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in jail after being found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The racially diverse jury – anonymous and sequestered from the outside world – deliberated for around 10-and-a-half hours before reaching their verdict on Tuesday.
As each of the charges against Chauvin was separate, jurors had to reach a separate verdict for each count. They had to conclude Chauvin's actions were a “substantial causal factor” in Floyd’s death and that his use of force was unreasonable.
The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, the third-degree murder charge a maximum of 25 years and the second-degree manslaughter charge a maximum of 10 years.
Chauvin is currently facing a maximum of 75 years behind bars, however, prosecutors previously said they’d be seeking enhanced sentences for all convictions.
Sentencing is due to take place in eight weeks tine, Judge Peter Cahill said.
Chauvin's bail was immediately revoked and he was taken out of the courtroom in cuffs after the verdict was read out.
His face concealed by a face mask, little reaction could be seen from Chauvin but his eyes darted wildly around the room as he was led away.
Late last month the Sun revealed that the killer cop was going to be arrested on the spot if he was acquitted of the murder of George Floyd.
Federal prosecutors were prepared to file a criminal complaint and instantly rearrest Chauvin on police brutality violations, it was revealed.
Justice Department officials allegedly devised the insurance plan to take place on the day ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin's murder trial culminated.
The next step would have been to gather a grand jury to secure an indictment, the sources told the Star-Tribune.
But the failsafe measures proved to be unnecessary.
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