Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is appealing his convictions in the murder of George Floyd, saying his trial and steps the city took during the highly-watched event were skewed so heavily against him there was no chance of getting a fair proceeding.
The Star Tribune reports Chauvin's argued before the Minnesota Court of Appeals to have his case thrown out, or at least, be given a new trial. In 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury. Chauvin was also given a 21-year sentence by a federal court for violating Floyd's civil rights.
Attorney William Mohrman said in addition to the massive security measures Hennepin County and Minnesota had to take to secure the city and courthouse in case Chauvin was found not guilty, he pointed to how the city settled with Floyd's family for millions of dollars in the middle of the trial.
"The primary issue on this appeal is whether a criminal defendant can get a fair trial consistent with constitutional requirements in a courthouse that's surrounded by concrete block, barbed wire, two armored personnel carriers and a squad of National Guard troops all... there for one purpose: in the event that the jury acquits the defendant," he said.
The threat of riots if Chauvin was found not guilty was well-founded after unrest broke out when a police officer in nearby Brooklyn Center accidentally shot and killed Daunte Wright when he started to resist arrest during a traffic stop. The incident occurred right before the jury in Chauvin's trial announced their verdict. Rioters attacked Brooklyn Center's police station for days, requiring the National Guard, state police, and the sheriff's department to clamp down on the violence and looting.
One juror in the trial, Brandon Mitchell, a black man, appeared to have mislead authorities during the screening process as said he did not participate in any protests or demonstrations after the incident in question when he did attend the 2020 Washington, D.C. rally commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. In social media posts, Mitchell was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of MLK and the phrases “Get your knee off our neck” and “BLM.” He is also wearing a “Black Lives Matter” hat, according to the New York Post.