I previously reported about the problematic comments of Brandon Mitchell, Juror #52 in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
Mitchell appeared on “Get Up! Mornings” show with Erica Campbell on April 27, Mitchell spoke about his experience on the jury. During the interview, Campbell said that many people aren’t all that eager to do jury duty. She asked him about what message he would leave people about “saying yes to jury duty?”
“I mean it’s important if we wanna see some change, we wanna see some things going different, we gotta get out there, get out into these avenues, get into these rooms to try to spark some change,” he said. “Jury duty is one of those things. Jury duty. Voting. All of those things we gotta do.”
He also spoke about the chance to “make history” and Campbell plugged Mitchell’s podcast.
Now of course this is problematic because you’re not supposed to be sitting on a jury to “spark some change” or care about “history”; you’re only supposed to be considering the facts in evidence.
I mentioned the report that there was a picture of Mitchell floating around that showed him at a protest in Washington, D.C. on August 28 last year in a BLM shirt and hat. The shirt said “Get your knees off our necks” and “BLM.” Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd for over nine minutes.
— Dr. Nickarama (@nickaramaOG) May 4, 2021
Now, Mitchell is admitting he actually was at the protest and that the picture was posted by his uncle, although he’s claiming he doesn’t recall wearing or owning the shirt, according to the AP.
Mitchell is downplaying his attendance at the protest, saying that “I’d never been to D.C.,” Mitchell said of his reasons for attending the event. “The opportunity to go to D.C., 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 told the Star Tribune that last summer’s protest was “100% not” a march for Floyd.
“It was directly related to MLK’s March on Washington from the ’60s … The date of the March on Washington is the date … It was literally called the anniversary of the March on Washington,” he said.
So, now, there are a few problems with what Mitchell said.
Saying he doesn’t even remember wearing or owning the shirt? In the words of Joe Biden, come on, man! He recognizes that there’s a problem now with his actions and he’s trying to minimize it.
Second, yes, the march was officially in remembrance of MLK’s march. But it was also explicitly referred to all over social media as the “Get Your Knees Off Our Necks” march/protest. The fact that he doesn’t say that is additionally concerning. Plug that phrase into the Twitter search function and you can see all kinds of protesters referring to the August 28th event by that name.
Here are a couple of examples:
57 years after the #MarchOnWashington, civil rights leaders have again gathered in D.C. for the "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" protest for racial justice.
Tune in: https://t.co/jCvxPbWZtM
— The Century Foundation (@TCFdotorg) August 28, 2020
— Sherry Dean 🌊 (@DeansherryS) August 28, 2020
You can see ABC even refers to it by that name on their video.
You can also check out this link from the protest where Al Sharpton specifically calls on people to say the name of George Floyd and other people killed in police shootings. George Floyd’s family members were at the event and spoke as well. His brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of others who have been shot by police addressed the crowd.
So to say it was “100%” not a march for Floyd is disingenuous at best.
On top of that, Mitchell told the court he hadn’t attended any protests on a jury selection questionnaire, according to the AP.
The first question asked: “Did you, or someone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?” The second asked: “Other than what you have already described above, have you, or anyone close to you, participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality?”
He answered “no” to both questions.
When questioned by Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, he said he had thought highly of the BLM.
Mitchell told Nelson during jury selection that he had a “very favorable” opinion of Black Lives Matter, that he knew some police officers at his gym who are “great guys,” and that he felt neutral about Blue Lives Matter, a pro-police group. He also said he had watched clips of bystander video of Floyd being pinned and had wondered why three other officers at the scene didn’t intervene.
This is very concerning because no matter what the case, people are entitled to a fair trial and an impartial jury. This will no doubt add to the things now that the defense can raise on appeal, arguing that Chauvin was denied that.