Newsmax host Robert Schmitt has been accused of racism for saying Derek Chauvin was a “sacrifice to the mob” after the former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
The conviction of Chauvin for murdering Mr Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 was celebrated by Black Lives Matter ( BLM) activists and crowds in the city on Tuesday, and followed calls for justice for the Black 46-year-old.
The host of “Rob Schmitt Tonight” said Tuesday that Chauvin’s conviction was in response to fears of Minneapolis being “burnt to the ground” by campaigners for justice in the case, rather than the facts of the trial.
Mr Schmitt told viewers: "They say justice is blind. I don't think it was blind in this case at all."
"I think you have political pressure. I think you have pressure from all these activist groups going into all this. And I think at the end of the day people say, 'You know what? If we acquit this guy, this city is going to burn to the ground,” said Mr Schmitt.
"So you had a jury that said, 'You know what? We're gonna have to sacrifice this guy to the mob.' And that's exactly what I think happened today," Mr Schmitt added.
The remarks were challenged on Twitter, with user Brandon Davis commenting: “The mental gymnastics this guy is going through is unbelievable, like there's not a whole video out there [of Mr Floyd’s murder]“.
Another wrote that the conservative television anchor “should quit his racist job”.
Although officials in Minneapolis had braced for demonstrations in the wake of the verdict, with businesses in the city boarded up and a state of emergency declared, the conviction of Chauvin for murder eased weeks of tension in the city on Tuesday.
The remarks by Mr Schmitt were among a number of controversial responses to the trial of Chauvin, who was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes — igniting national demonstrations and unrest for weeks.
Tucker Carlson, the conservative Fox News host, alleged that “Facts no longer matter, not when [Black Lives Matter’s] founding myth is at stake.”
Mr Carlson followed by saying that “No mob has the right to destroy our cities. Not under any circumstances, not for any reason,” in remarks similar to Mr Schmitt’s.
Amy Siskind, an activist and author, wrote on Twitter: “Tucker Carlson does not disappoint: opens his show whining that Chauvin was found guilty because the jury was intimidated and pressured by BLM protestors (he calls riots) – and warns people will leave the country, saying its ‘an attack on civilisation’.”
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