A juror for the Derek Chauvin trial spoke out publicly Wednesday morning for the first time, telling “CBS This Morning” in an interview that he doesn’t believe that he or any of the other jurors in the trial felt pressured to convict.
“Did you feel pressure, because you knew the world was watching, that you have to reach a guilty verdict here,” CBS host Gayle King asked juror Brandon Mitchell.
Mitchell, known in court as juror number 52, said that that was “not at all the case” and that he didn’t believe any of the other jurors felt pressure to reach a specific verdict either. “The pressure, moreso, came from just being in the room and being under stress,” Mitchell 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, just because, as a human, it’s natural to feel some kind of way as you’re watching somebody in agony,” he said.
Lisa Christensen, an alternate juror, has said publicly she was initially unsure whether she wanted to serve on the jury at all. “I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict,” Christensen told local outlet KARE 11.
Christensen ultimately said that she felt Chauvin was “guilty on some level.” She noted that she doesn’t know how she would have decided on specific charges because she didn’t have enough time with the jury instructions before getting dismissed.
Mitchell told King that, once the jurors entered the deliberation room, all but one of them believed that Chauvin was guilty on the manslaughter charge — the least severe of the three charges against him — in a preliminary vote. And after 40 minutes of discussion, going over court-provided legal definitions, and talking about the evidence, the hold-out juror was convinced that Chauvin was guilty of manslaughter as well.
After King asked Mitchell, “What was the one person unsure about Brandon,” Mitchell responded: “I think it was just the terminology. So within the instructions, you know, some of the terminology can be a little tricky because it’s legal jargon. Sometimes some of the words can be interpreted differently amongst people, so they wanted to do their due diligence and make sure that they were coming out with the right verdict that they believed in. So they were just hung up on a few words, and we kind of went through the definitions that were given to us and kinda broke it down from different perspectives to get everyone on the same page.”
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty earlier this month of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. His sentencing is scheduled for June.