Brandon Mitchell, a juror during former police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, encouraged black activists to “spark some change” through jury duty.
Mitchell has done a string of media appearances since the jury he was on found Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. In an appearance on the “Get Up! Mornings” show with host Erica Campbell, Mitchell suggested that jury duty was an avenue to fight for social change, similar to voting.
“I mean, it’s important. If we want to see some change and we want to see some things going different, we got to get out there and get into these avenues and get into these rooms to try to spark some change,” Mitchell told Campbell in an April 27 interview. “Jury duty is one of the things. Jury duty, voting, all those little things, the things we got to do.”
The role of a juror is to act impartially and deliver a verdict based on the facts and evidence of a particular case. Mitchell’s suggestion that jury duty is an “avenue” for social change appears to conflict with what he was tasked to do in the Chauvin trial.
Since revealing himself as a juror in the trial, Mitchell has faced scrutiny and backlash for his comments in the media as well as allegations he misled or gave false statements to attorneys about his past before he was selected as a juror in Chauvin’s trial. Mitchell said last week that he decided to speak out after the trial to “help push for change.” As The Daily Wire reported:
“That’s also part of the reason why I’m speaking up now because that is a narrative that is horrible,” Mitchell said. “So somebody follows directions or not, they don’t deserve to die. That’s completely ridiculous.”
Mitchell told [The Wall Street Journal] that the hardest testimony for him to hear during the trial was from George Floyd’s brother.
“I just related to it too much,” he said. “Being big, you know, former athlete and all these things — it just, it really just hit home … . It just felt like something that easily could have been me or anybody else that I know.”
Recently, a photo has surfaced of Mitchell in a Black Lives Matter shirt with a caption that says “get your knee of our necks,” an apparent reference to Chauvin’s arrest of Floyd in May 2020 when the then-police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck. The photo of Mitchell was posted in August by Mitchell’s uncle. It was taken in Washington, D.C., at a rally commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
The photo appears to conflict with claims Mitchell made during the jury selection process, specifically claims he made about participating in demonstrations or marches against police brutality. Mitchell told the court that he had not. On Monday, Mitchell said he did not remember wearing the Floyd-inspired shirt and said that the rally he attended in Washington was not related to Floyd, though Floyd’s family spoke at the rally and it was used to build support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.