The defense attorney for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin complained to the judge Monday that the jury for his client’s trial has not been sequestered, despite the jury likely being “bombarded” with outside messaging and media reports about the case.
Judge Peter Cahill, however, dismissed the concerns, telling attorney Eric Nelson, “Well, to be fair, the last few times I advised [the jury], I told them not to watch the news, pure and simple.”
Nelson argued that it’s virtually impossible for the jurors to get away from the outside press and messages, highlighting that jurors were not told to stay away from all media, but only to try to avoid media that pertains to the case. The attorney also noted that he had to get rid of an email account over “literally thousands and thousands and thousands” of messages from outsiders, and that alerts on his smart devices are at times unavoidable.
The defense attorney added that messaging over the case has even popped up in television shows, at least two of them within the past few days. Nelson didn’t name the specific shows in the court room but said he’d like to add supplement documents outlining what he was talking about.
Most notably, Nelson referenced recent comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) that seemingly encouraged violence if Chauvin is not convicted. This, too, was dismissed by Judge Cahill concerning a mistrial, though he did blast the congresswoman and told Nelson she could have given him a lane for an appeal.
Perhaps adding to juror intimidation, a witness called by the defense was reportedly targeted by activists this past weekend over his testimony that was largely viewed as helpful to Chauvin.
Former police officer Barry Brodd’s former home was smeared with animal blood, and a severed pig’s head was left at the front porch, The Daily Wire reported. Notably, anti-police activists have commonly referred to police officers as “pigs.” Brodd is a former police officer.
During his closing remarks on Monday, Nelson zeroed in on the prosecution’s “nine minute” narrative concerning the detainment of George Floyd, arguing that jurors must look past the prosecution’s narrative and also assess the first 16 minutes and 59 seconds of video before reaching their verdict. The Daily Wire reported:
Jurors’ analysis should start with Chauvin’s initial knowledge before arriving on scene, Nelson argued. Chauvin knew that a business requested officers’ assistance, and the alleged male offender was still on the scene. The man was described as large, standing at six-feet or taller and possibly under the influence of alcohol or something else. Chauvin was then told that an officer on scene requested assistance.
Nelson argued that when Chauvin arrived at the Cup Foods corner store that had called police, what any “reasonable police officer would see could be defined … as active aggression, or active resistance” from Floyd. The attorney showed video of two officers struggling to put Floyd into a police car.
Floyd complained that he was “claustrophobic” and repeatedly said he was a “good guy” before Chauvin had “laid a finger on Mr. Floyd,” Nelson stressed.
Chauvin, at the time, would have also observed “the white foam around Floyd’s mouth,” added Nelson.
Three officers were unable to get Floyd into the police car before Chauvin put the suspect into a prone restraint, the defense argued. During the struggle, Floyd’s kicking nearly knocked one officer over and did knock the body camera off of Chauvin, Nelson said.
Nelson noted that officers are heard on camera reassessing the risk before Chauvin decided to restrain Floyd. He also said that Chauvin was told that paramedics would be on the scene in three minutes or sooner.
The prosecution wants the jury to focus in on the “nine minutes and 29 seconds,” where Chauvin has Floyd restrained, Nelson argued, adding that jurors should not ignore the first 16 minutes and 59 seconds.
WATCH (relevant comments start at the 3:30-minute mark):