"The case to me feels like a closed case where it shouldn't be really even a question whether there will be an acquittal or a verdict that doesn't meet the scale of the crime that was committed," Rep. Omar told reporters Tuesday.
“The case, to me, feels like a closed case” Representative Ilhan Omar gives remarks about the Derek Chauvin Trial this morning in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota #BrooklynCenter #ChauvinTrial pic.twitter.com/3fKCY3IcVX— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) April 20, 2021
Speaking in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center—a city still recovering after days of riots and looting—Rep. Omar continued:
"I know that a majority of the community has trust in the leadership of Attorney General Keith Ellison and the prosecutors that he put forth to be able to prosecute this case in a way that was dignified and just.
As the community is still on edge and feels that we are a community that has experienced injustice over and over again that this might actually be the turning point.
We are prayed up, we are holding onto one another for support, we are checking in on one another, and hopefully this verdict will come soon and the community can start the process of healing."
Rep. Omar's statement comes after Rep. Maxine Waters made a stop in Brooklyn Center over the weekend where she called for a guilty verdict and more confrontation from demonstrators as well as more recent comments from President Biden who remarked he is "praying the verdict is the right verdict" before adding "the evidence is overwhelming in my view."
The judge in the Chauvin trial rebuked Rep. Waters on Monday after jurors began deliberations, saying any officials who want to give their opinions "should do so... in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution."
The judge's wish that "elected officials would stop talking about this case" is correct on multiple accounts.
This legal armchair quarterbacking presents the potential for jurors—who until deliberations began were not sequestered (although they were told to avoid watching the news) while the case progressed—to be swayed or intimidated into deciding the case a certain way out of fear, rather than based on the facts.
Outside of the jury room, residents of the Twin Cities—and other cities across the country—are being sold a presumptive and potentially false promise that the prosecution's case is some sort of slam dunk. The authority with which Waters, Biden, and Omar are speaking will only make a possible acquittal, mistrial, or hung jury outcome more of a shock.
And as the judge noted, comments from Waters and others have already jeopardized a conviction, should that be the jury's decision, as it handed Chauvin's defense team a new argument for appeal that "may result in this whole trial being overturned."
Instead of appealing to people's better angels and advocating for cooler heads to prevail, these so-called leaders have only heightened tensions, incited more violence, and created a situation where anything but a full conviction will appear to be caused by nefarious forces rather than a failure of prosecutors to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.