White cop Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of killing African American George Floyd, demanded Tuesday that the sentence be overturned, accusing the jury of engaging in “inappropriate behavior”.
Her request was submitted after photographs of one of the twelve jurors appeared at an anti-racism demonstration, raising questions about his impartiality, but she did not mention it.
His lawyer, May Eric Nelson, requested “a hearing to overturn the judgment based on inappropriate behavior by the jury, threats, intimidation and pressure that influenced him and / or his failure to follow instructions during the deliberations,” according to a document sent to justice.
He is also requesting a new trial on the grounds that the judge refused to disrupt the trial and dismiss the jury during the hearings to the extent that, he said, they were affected by the massive media coverage of the case.
After three weeks of discussion and short deliberation, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of killing George Floyd on April 20 and imprisoned immediately. The verdict issued against him will be reinstated on June 25.
Eight days after this landmark ruling, one juror, Brandon Mitchell, a 31-year-old black man, gave multiple interviews, hoping to encourage African Americans to sit on the jury. “Like voting, it can help bring about change,” he said.
Since then, a picture has appeared on social media of him wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt with the phrase “Lift your knees off our necks”.
Mr. Mitchell explained to the local press that he was photographed in this outfit on the sidelines of a large anti-racism demonstration organized in late August in Washington to commemorate the historic speech of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, “I have a dream.”
But in a questionnaire sent to a prospective jury before the trial, he said he had not participated in the protests against the police violence that followed the death of George Floyd.
Jury selection expert Geoffrey Frederick told AFP his “answers were technically correct” because it was commemorating an anniversary. He added, “It is now up to the judge to question him again to see if he had any preconceptions or whether he lied, and to determine whether they were serious enough to influence the outcome of the trial.”
He said, “But the obstacle is too high to cancel the trial, and this rarely happens.”
Likewise, Steve Toller, a jury selection advisor, says it is “unlikely that these discoveries will alter the judgment.” However, he said, “There is no doubt that the defense will use it to appeal.”