One of the jurors who served on Derek Chauvin‘s murder trial is speaking out one week after he helped convict the former Minneapolis cop for killing George Floyd.
Brandon Mitchell, juror #52 and one of four Black jurors who served on the trial, spoke with Gayle King during an interview televised on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday to offer some crucial insight into the deliberations process as well as the case as a whole. He and 11 other jurors on April 20 found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for using his knee to apply deadly pressure to Floyd’s neck for more than nine excruciating minutes recorded by a bystander.
Mitchell recalled feeling “stress” and “pressure” from his jury duty, but not to deliver a guilty verdict. Instead, Mitchell said, it was having to repeatedly view explicit video footage of Floyd being killed that took an emotional toll on him.
“We were just stressed about the simple fact that we had to come in every day and watch a Black man die,” Mitchell told King. “That alone is stressful.”
He added: “Coming in each and every day and having to watch somebody die is stressful enough by itself. So anything outside of that was secondary because as a human, it’s natural to feel some kind of way as you’re watching somebody in agony.”
He said there were a few days when he wasn’t sure how he was going to show up to jury duty, what with the emotional weight growing heavier with each day he served. “Especially” because he is a Black man, Mitchell said.
“I don’t know if it affects anybody else the same way,” he added.
Mitchell said he was convinced of Chauvin’s guilt after testimony from a pulmonologist witness for the prosecution. Dr. Martin Tobin’s visual aids that accompanied what Mitchell said was easy-to-understand medical explanations about Floyd’s death helped most of the jurors agree early on that Chauvin should be convicted.
Mitchell also credited Donald Williams, a mixed martial arts fighter and former wrestler who testified for the prosecution about his experience and knowledge surrounding the topic of chokeholds in relation to how Chauvin kneeled Floyd’s neck. Williams referred to the kneeling restraint used by Chauvin as a “blood choke” and said, “I believe I witnessed a murder.”
The jury found Chauvin guilty after deliberating for only about 10 hours. Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison, which could mean the 45-year-old will effectively spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is scheduled to be sentenced at the end of June.
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