Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney, the former police officer convicted on April 20 of killing African-American George Floyd in a Minneapolis arrest, filed a motion to request a new trial on Tuesday, alleging that his client did not receive a fair trial, as the jury According to his argument, he did not act freely and impartially, but felt pressured and threatened by public attention.
Chauvin was found guilty of the three crimes he was charged with – reckless homicide, murder in the third degree and, the most serious, murder in the second degree – in a process of historical significance, considered a turning point in the battle against police brutality, and on which the president of the United States, Joe Biden, spoke. Floyd’s arrest and death on May 25, after spending more than nine minutes with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, sparked a global wave of mobilizations against racism.
The defense attorney for the police officer, Eric Nelson, points out in his brief that the court failed to isolate the jury or force them to “avoid any information from the media” and that they were subjected to “intimidation or possible fear of reprisals.” Nelson also points out that the prosecution also acted improperly and asks to annul the verdict on the grounds that the jury “felt threatened or intimidated, felt racial pressure during the proceedings and failed to follow the instructions during the deliberations. ”.
This jury, made up of seven women and five men of different races, reached a unanimous conclusion on the crimes after 10 hours of deliberations and three weeks of trial. The force of the images of a brutal immobilization, recorded on video, played a fundamental role. The judge is scheduled to hand down the sentence at a hearing on June 25. The penalties for the most serious crime, murder in the second degree (which implies death during the commission of a crime) can carry up to 40 years in prison, although the ex-agent does not have a criminal record and that can reduce the punishment.
Very rarely has a jury’s verdict been reversed. The attorney’s motion was filed after it emerged that one of the jurors had lied about his presence at protests against police brutality. This is Brandon Mitchell, who participated in the summer concentration in Washington coinciding with the 57th anniversary of the great march in which Martin Luther King famously said “I have a dream.” In a photo posted on social media, Mitchell is wearing a T-shirt with the words “Take your knees off our necks.” Jurors are allowed to have opinions on matters, although they must ensure that their ideas or feelings do not impede an objective assessment of the facts under judgment.
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