It took a jury only ten and a half hours to unanimously convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on allegations of murder and manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.
But with 45-year-old Chauvin, who was almost certainly going to appeal, the politically explosive case could be far from over. With nine out of ten appeals being denied by US courts, attorney Eric Nelson faces a daunting task.
But here, DailyMail.com analyzes the key issues that the disgraced ex-cop and his legal team will use as grounds for a retrial.
TOO CLOSE TO HOME
The shocking death of George Floyd under the knee of Derek Chauvin sparked months of protests around the world.
But nowhere was the pain and fear more acutely felt than in his native Minneapolis, where crowds greeted today’s verdict with roars of approval and tears of joy.
The ex-cop’s legal team had argued that there was no way their client could get a fair trial in Hennepin County, but District Judge Peter Cahill refused to move it to another city.
Cahill said the chaos and anger surrounding Chauvin would follow the defendant wherever he went.
It took a jury only ten and a half hours to unanimously convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (right) of murder and manslaughter after George Floyd’s death
“As for the change of location, I don’t think that would give the defendant a fair trial beyond what we’re doing here today,” Cahill said last month.
“I don’t think there is a place in the state of Minnesota that hasn’t gotten extremely much publicity in this case.”
Likewise, Cahill declined to postpone the proceedings, given it is unlikely anyone could forget the names of those involved or the poignant video of Floyd’s final moments.
“Unfortunately, I think the publicity for the trial will continue in this case, no matter how long we go on with it,” Cahill said.
Attorney Eric Nelson will nevertheless argue that no one can get a fair trial under these circumstances.
ANOTHER SHOOTING, FRESH GLARE
Judge Cahill declined repeated defense requests to isolate the jury during the three-week trial to protect them from any mention of the case or related news.
But no one could have foreseen what happened next: a gruesome police officer who shot an unarmed black motorist just ten miles from where Floyd suffocated himself.
The murder of Daunte Wright, 20, by a police officer who claims she mistook her firearm for a taser when she shot him at close range sparked another wave of protests and violence.
The murder of Daunte Wright (left), 20, by a police officer (right), who claims she mistook her firearm for a taser when she shot him at close range, sparked another wave of protests and violence. The judge declined repeated requests for defense to sequester the jury
There seems to be little doubt that jurors heard about it. One lives in Brooklyn Park, the neighborhood where the disturbing April 11 incident took place. Another has relatives there.
Nelson told the court that he was concerned about new civil unrest and that the ghost of a defenseless young black man who would lose his life in what appeared to be a routine traffic stop could bring back painful memories in jurors.
He said to the court: ‘I understand that it is not the same parties. But the problem is that the emotional response the case evokes paves the way for a jury to say, “I’m not going to vote innocent because I’m worried about the outcome.”
Nelson once again pleaded with the judge to isolate the jury, asking him to remind them at the beginning and end of each day to ignore the media.
Cahill eventually decided that sequestering the jury could draw even more attention to the Brooklyn Center tragedy.
He told the court, “I think sequestration will only make that worse. “Oh, I’ve heard about the civil unrest, and now that the judge is seizing us, there must be a greater threat to our security.”
“I think the better way is to continue with the process like we’ve done.”
ENTER MAXINE WATERS
In the eleven months since he died face down in the street, handcuffed, gasping and begging for mercy, George’s Floyd’s family has not wavered in their calls for restraint, calm and peaceful protest.
But it seemed that California firefighter Maxine Waters had not read the script when she flew into Minneapolis on the eve of jury deliberations to rally protesters and demand justice.
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict. And if we don’t, we can’t leave. We need to become more confrontational, ”she urged the crowd on Sunday evening.
When jurors began to deliberate the next day, Republicans condemned the seasoned congressman’s call to arm as inciting uproar and jury tampering.
California Rep Maxine Waters (pictured) flew to Minneapolis on the eve of jury deliberations to rally protesters and demand justice. “We’re looking for a guilty verdict. And if we don’t, we can’t leave. We need to become more confrontational, ‘she urged the crowd over the weekend
Judge Cahill was equally unimpressed, describing Waters’s comments as “disgusting.”
He refused Chauvin a retrial, but told his attorney, “I admit that Congressman Waters may have given you something on appeal that could result in this entire trial being quashed.”
Nelson will claim that he repeatedly asked for the jury to be sequestered and that, had the judge agreed, they would never have been exposed to Waters’ inflammatory demands.
He will also point out that they could have seen reports of vandals dumping a severed pig’s head outside a California home, mistakenly believing it to be the home of defense pundit Barry Brodd, who uses force.
Waters was one of several politicians, including President Joe Biden, who even waded into the explosive process during deliberations.
Hours before the verdict, Biden told reporters he was “praying” for the correct verdict. His words would not have reached the jurors, as they were eventually segregated on Monday.
However, Nelson will argue that the judge’s instructions – he simply told jurors at the end of the trial – were completely inadequate.
The Floyds received the justice they longed for. They will also receive a huge amount of money.
Five days after the jury selection began, the city of Minneapolis made the extraordinary decision to announce to the world that they had approved a $ 27 million settlement in the civil suit brought by the family.
Nelson immediately asked for a relocation and postponement of the trial, but his request fell on deaf ears.
Instead, it was agreed that the judge would rerun the already sitting jurors.
Two of them were fired for admitting to hearing of the settlement and unable to be impartial.
The timing of the announcement clearly infuriated Judge Cahill, sparking an outburst from the bench ordering both the state and defense, “Just stop talking about it!”
JUROR LIES ABOUT PROTEST
Juror Brandon Mitchell attended an Aug. 28 event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr’s “ I Have a Dream ” speech at the 1963 March in Washington.
It shows Mitchell, a high school basketball coach, standing with two other men wearing a T-shirt with a picture of King and the words, ‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR PICK UP’ and ‘BLM’. He also wears a baseball cap with Black Lives Matter imprint.
Mitchell said he answered “no” to two questions about demonstrations on the questionnaire sent before the jury selection.
The first question was, “Did you, or anyone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?”
The second asked, “Other than what you have already described above, have you taken part in protests about the use of police force or police violence?”
Mike Brandt, a Minneapolis attorney who was not involved in the case, said the revelation alone was nowhere near enough to overturn Chauvin’s conviction, but it could be combined with other issues on an appeal to say that Chauvin was refused a fair trial.
Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, said Mitchell’s photo was “evidence Chauvin can point to to establish that his right to an impartial jury was denied.”