On April 20, 2021, a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd. Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in Floyd's death, an incident that sparked worldwide protests against police brutality.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after he was arrested by police on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Video footage showed Chauvin kneeling over the 46-year-old African-American man's neck for more than nine minutes.
However, the defence may now have grounds for appeal after new evidence has emerged showing that one of the jurors, who promised the judge impartiality on the case, was spotted wearing a t-shirt supporting Floyd last year.
Photo Shows Juror Wearing T-Shirt That Read 'Get Your Knee Off Our Necks'
Juror #52, who has now been identified as Brandon Mitchell reportedly told judge Cahill that he had no prior knowledge of the case prior to being summoned for jury duty, as tweeted by FOX 9 reporter Paul Blume on March 15.
In a Facebook post dated Aug. 31, 2020, Mitchell was pictured wearing a shirt with an image of Martin Luther King along with the words, "Get your knee off our necks" and "BLM," which is short for Black Loves Matter. The photo raises serious questions about his claim that he had no prior knowledge of the case.
According to the photo's caption, the image was captured in Washington, D.C., around the same time thousands of protesters descended upon the National Mall in the nation's capitol for the "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" March to express their support for Floyd and other black people who were killed by law enforcement and protest against police violence.
Mitchell Said He Saw Jury Duty As a Means to 'Spark Some Change'
Mitchell is the first juror in the Chauvin trial to speak openly about the deliberations in the wake of the former Minneapolis police officer's conviction.
Speaking in a show called Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell on April 27, Mitchell said that people should say yes to jury duty as a means to promote societal change.
"I mean it's important if we wanna see some change, we wanna see some things going different, we gotta 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."
Social Media Reactions
Mitchell's photo from last year is now being circulated on Twitter with users commenting that the juror may have perjured himself in court and this could be grounds for Chauvin's legal team to file an appeal against his conviction.
"It's legal to lie on jury questioning?," asked one Twitter user, while another wrote, "This juror just wrote a successful appeal for a murderer.
"Mistrial incoming. Riots to follow," opined yet another.
"Just another piece of the appeal process that the officer will win and get a new trial," tweeted a fourth user.