Brandon Mitchell, 31, was able to make it onto the Derek Chauvin jury after he checked “no” when asked if he or anyone close to him had “participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality.”
On Sunday, a photo surfaced of Mitchell wearing a “GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS,” “BLM” shirt and a “Black Lives Matter” hat while at a protest against police brutality in Washington, DC in August 2020.
On Monday, Mitchell admitted that he attended the “March on Washington” while speaking with the Star Tribune (who buried the lead).
“I’d never been to [Washington] D.C.,” Mitchell said Monday of his reasons for attending the event. “The opportunity to go to D.C., the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of Black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something.”
[…] Mitchell said the social media post was made by his uncle, who is the father of one of the cousins pictured, and appears to be “a partial real post.” However, he said, he has no recollection of wearing or owning the shirt.
Mitchell said the event was commemorating the 57th anniversary of King’s famous speech, which advocated for civil and economic rights for Blacks, and is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The event was “100% not” a march for Floyd, Mitchell said, adding, “It was directly related to MLK’s March on Washington from the ’60s … The date of the March on Washington is the date.”
Philonese Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, said while speaking on stage during the March on Washington that it was a march for Floyd.
Philonese Floyd: "I wish George was here to see this right now. That's who I'm marching for. I'm marching for George, for Breonna, for Ahmaud, for Jacob, for Pamela Turner, for Michael Brown, Trayvon, and anyone else who lost their lives to evil." #MarchOnWashington pic.twitter.com/l3YqhKEU7Y
— The Hill (@thehill) August 28, 2020
One of the main points of the march was to demand the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Today my wife Katherine and I joined thousands to mark the 57th anniversary of the #MarchOnWashington and demand that the Senate pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We cannot let up until justice is delivered. Onwards! pic.twitter.com/5m8h7vR1tc
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) August 28, 2020
The Star Tribune continues:
The event had several components, including: advocating for racial justice, increasing voter registration, pushing for a new version of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and urging participation in the 2020 census.
It also focused on police use-of-force. Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and family members of others who have been shot by police addressed the crowd. It served as a rallying point for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a federal police reform bill.
Mitchell said he answered “no” to two questions in the juror questionnaire sent out before jury selection that asked about participation in demonstrations.
The first question asked, “Did you, or someone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?”
The second asked, “Other than what you have already described above, have you, or anyone close to you, participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality?”
Mitchell said he was not concerned about backlash for his participation in the march, noting its historic significance beyond the Chauvin case.
“This was a big deal,” he said of the event. “It’s a national thing.”
Mitchell took issue with at least one news account of the picture that said he told the court during jury selection that he had no knowledge of Chauvin’s case.
“I think I was being extremely honest, for sure,” he said of the jury selection process. “I gave my views on everything — on the case, on Black Lives Matter.”
Nelson asked Mitchell several questions during jury selection, and Mitchell told him: He had watched clips of bystander video of the incident; he had talked about the case with his family, friends and co-workers; he had wondered why three other officers at the scene didn’t stop Chauvin; and he had a “very favorable” opinion of Black Lives Matter.
Mitchell also told Nelson he knew some police officers at his gym who were “great guys,” and that he felt neutral about Blue Lives Matter, a pro-police group. He said he could be neutral at trial.
Defense attorney Mike Padden, who is not involved in the case, said Mitchell should have divulged his participation and let attorneys and the judge decide whether it would unfairly influence him at trial.
“It’s disconcerting,” Padden said. “Maybe with that disclosure, Mr. Nelson keeps him on the jury, but I don’t think so.”
The Star Tribune noted that lying on the questionnaire or during jury selection is a crime.
During an interview with Get Up! Mornings With Erica Campbell last week, Mitchell encouraged people to get on juries to “to try to spark some 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,” Mitchell said. “Jury duty is one of those things. Jury duty. Voting. All of those things we gotta do.”
Here’s the moment Juror #52 (Brandon Mitchell) from the Chauvin trial talks about jury duty as a means for societal change. pic.twitter.com/xewZitQXvq
— Janet (@janetburke27) May 2, 2021
As The Gateway Pundit highlighted, Minneapolis FOX 9’s Paul Blume reported in March that “Judge Cahill asked Juror #52, whether he heard anything about the #GeorgeFloyd civil case. He says, no. He explained hearing some basic info about trial dates, etc from the news in recent months, but nothing that would keep him from serving as impartial juror.”
Juror #52 wrote in his jury questionnaire that he wondered why other police officers at the scene did not intervene in #GeorgeFloyd deadly arrest. He recognizes the historic nature of the case. Defense says he is an acceptable juror. So state's turn to question. #DerekChauvinTral
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) March 15, 2021
Mitchell told Good Morning America on Wednesday that most of the jury’s four or so hours of deliberations were spent trying to convince one juror who was having trouble understanding the jury instructions.
Mitchell said he felt like the deliberations “should have been 20 minutes.”
NEW: A juror in the Derek Chauvin trial says most of deliberations were spent trying to convince one person who was uncertain about the jury instructions.
"I felt like it should have been 20 minutes," Brandon Mitchell said on "Good Morning America."https://t.co/HO541FUTNe
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) April 28, 2021
Asked about the importance of black men showing up for jury duty, Mitchell told GMA, “In order for, uh, change to happen, we got to get us to those type of avenues, get us to those rooms, we got to show up for jury duty, we have to vote.”
“Those are things that are important to the society as a whole and if we want to, um, be viewed differently in society and start to see different results we have to start to do those things and we cannot avoid them,” Mitchell continued.
“We can’t put them on the back burner we have to put them in the forefront and jury duty is definitely one of those things especially with, you know, the insane number of black men being incarcerated. So yeah, so we definitely have to get on, get on those on those panels and stuff like that.”