Derek Chauvin Argues To Appeals Court That Jury Was Prejudiced In George Floyd Murder Case

Derek Chauvin is forging ahead with his appeal of his convictions for second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter related to the death of George Floyd in May 2020 in Minneapolis.

Attorneys for the former police officer filed a brief on his behalf on Friday, arguing that he did not receive a fair trial for a number of reasons. The brief alleges that one political activist who made it on to the jury lied to the court on his jury form, that the riots and media coverage that took place before and during his trial were prejudicial to his case, and the lack of a “cooling period” further created bias against him.

Chavin’s lawyers argue that the riots that plagued the nation in 2020 “poisoned the jury” against him. They also cite the widespread fears that anything less than a conviction at his trial would result in even greater and more violent rioting.

The brief cites another case as precedent in a situation of a “juror discovering that the City he or she resides in is bracing for a riot in the event the defendant on whose jury you sit is acquitted.”

The defense team further claims that the media and some law enforcement organizations in Minnesota either intentionally or unwittingly tainted the pool of potential jurors. The brief argues that public “coverage glorified Floyd and demonized Chauvin.” It cites allegedly false reporting that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck that led to widespread “pretrial publicity held up Chauvin as the symbol of police brutality.”

The brief also alleges that the trial judge erred in not allowing for a media “cooling off” period before Chauvin’s trial, which took place as emotions were still running very high in the community.

The defense lawyers specifically identified juror Brandon Mitchell as having been untruthful on his pre-trial juror questionnaire. The question in issue regarded “his views of the case and the extent of his activism.”

Mitchell checked “no” to the question about whether he had ever been an advocate for police reform or publicly demonstrated “about police use of force or police brutality.” The defense lawyers argue that evidence shows that Mitchell was an active participant in at least one George Floyd demonstration while wearing a shirt with the printed message, “BLM – Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.”

Chauvin is currently in prison on a sentence of 22.5 years. In his appeal, he requests either a reversal of his convictions, a new trial, or resentencing.