Derek Chauvin Trial Juror Says Racial Climate in U.S. Didn't Factor into Decision to Convict
Brandon Mitchell told Robin Roberts that George Floyd's "legacy is now cemented in history"
In an interview this morning with Good Morning America, one of the jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd opened up about the trial and the deliberations that led to the three guilty verdicts against the former Minneapolis police officer.
Brandon Mitchell, known during the trial as "Juror 52," told Robin Roberts it wasn't easy being in the courtroom for the proceedings, in which footage of Floyd's murder was repeatedly shown, and "watching somebody die on a daily basis."
Mitchell, 31, a basketball coach at North Community High School in Minneapolis, also said the jury did not watch news coverage of the trial, and that the racial climate in the United States did not factor into the 12 jurors' decisions.
"We were really just locked in on the case," Mitchell told Roberts in his first televised interview. "I mean, those things are just so secondary because you're literally, throughout the trial, watching somebody die on a daily basis, so that stress alone is enough to take your mind away from whatever's going on outside of the four walls of the courtroom."
Mitchell said the deliberations were "straightforward," with only "a few hiccups with terminology and understanding exactly what the instructions were."
He added: "I think the one juror that was kind of, I wouldn't say slowing us down but was being delicate with the process more so, was just kind of hung up on a few words within the instructions and just wanted to make sure that they got it right."
A jury convicted Chauvin last week of all three charges in Floyd's murder — second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — and the judge quickly ordered him into custody.
Chauvin will be sentenced on June 25.
As a first-time offender in Minnesota, he faces a recommended penalty of 12-and-a-half years in prison. He could receive a higher sentence, however, and the most serious crime carries a maximum of 40 years.
Floyd, 46, was killed on May 25, 2020, as Chauvin, 45, knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes while arresting him outside a Minneapolis convenience store — despite Floyd repeatedly telling the officers he couldn't breathe.
Floyd was unarmed. Officers had pinned him to the ground, and placed him in handcuffs.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
Mitchell said that bystander video of the murder, which sparked worldwide protests about police brutality, was "the most important piece of evidence" presented during the trial.
Mitchell also offered his condolences to Floyd's family and let them know that "his name is going to live on."
He continued: "His legacy is now cemented in history, it's now become so much bigger than him as an individual. It will hopefully create some change within society."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.