First juror in Chauvin trial to speak out says only one juror wasn’t certain of guilt

First Chauvin juror speaks out and says hours were spent convincing only jury member uncertain of guilt

‘It was just dark. It felt like every day was a funeral and watching someone die every day’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 28 April 2021 18:04
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Brandon Mitchell, juror 52 in the trial of Derek Chauvin, has said that the jury deliberated for four hours as one juror was holding out and needed to be convinced of the former officer’s guilt.

“It was just dark. It felt like every day was a funeral and watching someone die every day,” Mr Mitchell told CNN, adding that the jury was shown the video of George Floyd’s death five to six times a day during the three-week trial.

“I felt like it should have been 20 minutes,” Mr Mitchell said about the four-hour deliberation. He said only one juror, whom he didn’t identify, was not certain that Chauvin was guilty.

The jury eventually found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

“The deliberation room was straight forward. There [were] a few hiccups with terminology ... there wasn’t too much back and forth,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America.

He said one juror wanted further clarifications to understand the terminology in relation to the charges.

He said: “We deliberated for four hours. We were going over the terminology so we understood exactly what was being asked.

“The one juror that was, I wouldn’t say slowing us down, was being delicate with the process more so ... hung up on a few words.”

Mr Mitchell said every member of the jury agreed when they decided on the verdict. The jury was made up of six white individuals, four black persons, and two multiracial people.

The 31-year-old basketball coach told CNN: “It was tense every day. I wasn’t nervous, but it was stressful. It was a lot of pressure.”

The judge ruled that the names of the jurors shouldn’t be publicised for at least six months. It was after this ruling that Mr Mitchell decided to step forward.

He said of Chauvin: “As the case went on, his demeanour kind of changed to more of a confused look as ‘this isn’t how it’s supposed to go’.”

The juror added that he “didn’t see any remorse”.

Mr Mitchell said he felt the trial was done after prosecution witness, pulmonary expert Dr Martin Tobin, gave his testimony on the last breaths of Mr Floyd.

“Once Dr Tobin was finished with his testimony, I felt like the trial was done. He spoke everything in laymen’s terms, and it made sense,” Mr Mitchell said.

Dr Tobin’s testimony lasted for hours, during which he explained why he thought the cause of Mr Floyd’s death was a lack of oxygen, which lead to damage being done to his brain and his heart to stop beating.

Mr Mitchell said: “During the opening statements, I was curious or find out what the defence was going to bring to the table and convince us jurors. I didn’t see any avenues to which they could go.”

He said that before the trial, prospective jurors had to fill out a form to allow the prosecution and the defence team to choose the jurors who would approach the case in the least biased way.

The juror said on the questionnaire that he wanted to be a part of the case as it was likely going to be the most “historic” case of his lifetime.

“We haven’t seen an outcome like this on a case. I really think this is a start and I think it’s a good start,” he said. “And then, all the attention that it is still getting. Just keeping that magnifying glass there has to spark some kind of change.”

Alternate juror Lisa Christensen was present during the trial, ready to step in if she was called to serve on the jury. She told CBS This Morning last week that she too would have convicted Chauvin had she been on the jury.

She also said that the testimony of Dr Tobin sealed it for her. “I felt he was guilty ... I didn’t know if it was going to be guilty on all counts, but I would have said guilty,” she told CBS.

Asked why she thought Chauvin was guilty, Ms Christensen said: “I just felt like the prosecution made a really good, strong argument. Dr Tobin was the one that really did it for me. He explained everything. I understood it down to where he said this is the moment that he lost his life, really got to me.”