First juror in Derek Chauvin trial to speak publicly says he didn’t feel pressure to reach a guilty verdict
One of 12 jurors who found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of George Floyd’s murder is speaking out about his experience in the courtroom.
Brandon Mitchell, a 31-year-old Black man, is the first juror to speak publicly about the trial. The court has not released the names of the jurors but is allowing them to speak publicly now that the trial is over. Last week, an alternate juror said she believed Chauvin was guilty.
Speaking to “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday about whether the jurors felt pressure to reach a guilty verdict, Mitchell said: “Not at all. I don’t think any of us felt like that.”
Last week, the jury found Chauvin guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing outside a Cup Foods store last May. Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill revoked Chauvin’s bail and told him to report back in eight weeks for sentencing.
Mitchell declined to give his view on an appropriate sentence for Chauvin.
“I think we came with the right verdict, and I’ll let the judge do what he does,” he said.
Mitchell said the prosecution’s expert pulmonologist, Dr. Martin Tobin, was “the biggest, most influential witness of everybody.” Tobin spoke directly to jurors for hours in a professorial tone, prompting them to gesture along with his testimony as he explained how people breathe.
“I just thought he broke it down in a manner that was easy for all the jurors to understand, and I didn’t think there was any way for the defense to come back after that,” Mitchell told CBS.
Mitchell also said the testimony of Donald Williams, a mixed martial arts fighter, “set the tone” for the trial. Williams took the stand on the first and second days of witness testimony. He is seen on videos yelling at Chauvin as the former officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
The trial was emotionally difficult for the jury, Mitchell said.
“Coming in each and every day and having to watch somebody die is stressful enough by itself,” Mitchell told CBS. “It had its impact on me.”
Just before closing arguments, Chauvin invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege to not testify. Mitchell said it “possibly could have made a difference” to the verdict if Chauvin had decided to take the stand.
Speaking separately on “Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell,” Mitchell said he took a few days from work off after the trial concluded to decompress.
“I kind of feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now,” he told Campbell.
During jury selection last month, Mitchell told the court he works in banking and enjoys his job because he has one-on-one contact with customers and helps them set and meet financial goals. He coaches youth sports, which he said often entails mediating disputes by parents over how much playing time their kids get.
He wrote in his juror questionnaire that he wanted to be picked for the jury because “from all the protests … this is the most historic case of my lifetime and I’d like to be a part of it.” And while he voiced strong opinions in his juror questionnaire, in court he said he could assess the trial evidence impartially.
He said he’s seen parts of the bystander video two or three times but never in its entirety.
He wrote in the questionnaire he did not think Chauvin “set out to murder anyone.” However, he wrote, “Why didn’t the other officers stop Chauvin? … I don’t know if he was doing something wrong or not. But somebody did die.”
Here's what happens now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted on all counts in the murder of George Floyd.
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