One of the jurors at the trial of Derek Chauvin broke the silence Wednesday to describe in several American media “exhausting” hearings in the funeral atmosphere, and lift the veil on the secrecy of the deliberations.
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“It was so dark, every day it looked like it was a funeral, you saw someone die,” Brandon Mitchell said on CNN who, along with eleven other jurors, declared white policeman Derek Chauvin guilty of murder.
Eight days after this historic verdict, the 31-year-old black man decided to step out of anonymity to encourage African Americans to sit on juries. “Like voting, it can help spark change,” he explained on Fox.
The experience was “hard,” said the basketball coach at a high school in Minneapolis. “It was extremely exhausting seeing the video five to six times a day” of George Floyd’s ordeal, which died below the officer’s knee, he said on gospel star Erica Campbell’s podcast .
Often he would turn his head away so as not to look at these images. Some testimonies, including that of the victim’s brother, almost made him crack.
But when it came time for deliberations, he had no doubts. “I found the evidence overwhelming,” he told CNN. Despite everything, it took four or five hours to come to an agreement “when I would have liked to decide in 20 minutes”.
“One of the jurors was very careful with the process, he wondered about certain words in the instructions, he wanted to be sure he understood correctly,” Mr. Mitchell explained on ABC. But, in the end, all were in agreement and without hesitation, he assured.
The twelve jurors have found Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him, a decision hailed by outbursts of joy in Minneapolis and by several senior officials including President Joe Biden.
The policeman was immediately taken into custody. His sentence, which was to be pronounced on June 16, will finally be returned on June 25.