White policeman Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the murder of African-American George Floyd, asked Tuesday to quash the verdict, accusing the jury of having engaged in “inappropriate behavior”.
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Her request was filed after photos of one of the twelve jurors appeared in an anti-racist demonstration, which raised questions about his impartiality, but she does not mention them.
His lawyer Me Eric Nelson requests “a hearing to quash the verdict on the basis of inappropriate behavior by the jury, threats, intimidation and pressure having weighed on him and / or his failure to follow the instructions during the deliberations”, according to a document sent to justice.
He is also calling for a new trial on the grounds that the judge refused to disorient the trial and isolate the jurors during the hearings, so much so that they, according to him, were influenced by the immense media coverage of the case.
After three weeks of debate and short deliberation, Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd on April 20 and immediately jailed. His sentence will be returned on June 25.
Eight days after this historic verdict, one of the jurors, Brandon Mitchell, a 31-year-old black man, gave several interviews, hoping to encourage African Americans to sit on juries. “Like voting, it can help bring about change,” he said.
Since then, a photo of him, wearing a T-shirt in the colors of the Black Lives Matter movement (Black lives count) with the mention “Get your knees off our necks”, has surfaced on social networks.
Mr. Mitchell explained to the local press that he was photographed in this outfit on the sidelines of a large anti-racist demonstration organized in late August in Washington for the anniversary of the historic speech of civil rights leader Martin Luther King “I have a dream”.
But, in the questionnaire sent to potential jurors before the trial, he said he had not participated in the protests against the police violence that followed the death of George Floyd.
“His answers were technically correct”, since it was a commemoration, notes for AFP the expert in jury selection Jeffrey Frederick. “It is now up to the judge to question him again to see if he had any preconceived ideas or if he lied, and to decide if it is serious enough to affect the outcome of the trial,” he said. he adds.
“But the bar is very high to cancel a trial, and that happens very rarely,” he said.
Similarly, Steve Tuller, jury selection consultant, believes “unlikely that these revelations change the verdict.” But according to him, “there is no doubt that the defense will use it to appeal.”