Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin claims in a new appeals filing that he did not receive a fair trial for multiple reasons — specifically the violence that preceded and continued throughout his trial.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
In his new brief, his attorneys argue that the violence along with persistent negative media coverage, the absence of a “cooling period,” and a juror they allege lied about his activism resulted in Chauvin’s guilty verdicts.
The first Chauvin juror to speak out publicly also happens to be a BLM activist who lied to get on the jury and has admitted that he saw it as an opportunity to “spark social change.”
The verdict should be thrown out. This wasn’t a fair trial. There’s no getting around it now.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 4, 2021
The filing, delivered on Friday, declared that there could not be a situation “more prejudicial” than knowing that a city was on the edge of a riot. It argued the effects that knowledge would have on a juror who knows that violence will erupt if the defendant is acquitted are undeniable.
It cited the “second-most destructive riots” in the nation’s history that caused $500,000,000 in damage and a pair of deaths in the local area alone.
Chauvin’s attorneys also accuse both the media and law enforcement agencies of glorifying Floyd while demonizing Chauvin.
They claim that the news repeated the “false” narrative that Chauvin “had his knee on Floyd’s neck, thereby choking Floyd.
This, they said in the paperwork, made Chauvin the “symbol for police brutality.”
Further, the Minneapolis Police Chief and head of the Department of Public Safety prejudiced the jury pool ahead of the trial by referring to Floyd’s death as a “murder” shortly after the incident.
The defense brief blasted the proceedings as an extreme case where the charges went beyond simply the voices of news media.
Instead, it argued, they had a physical effect on the venue and surrounding community, creating a situation where “prejudice is presumed.”
There is also a specific complaint concerning juror Brandon Mitchell, who Chauvin’s attorneys say lied about the extent of his political activism. It cited multiple instances in his juror questionnaire when the lawyers assert that Mitchell was not honest about his involvement in the Floyd protests.