ST. PAUL — One of the jurors who found Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd said that there was no pressure to convict the former Minneapolis officer, despite the whole world watching.
Brandon Mitchell, juror No. 52, said on “CBS This Morning” that the pressure and stress came from watching video evidence each day of Floyd's death.
"We were stressed just about the simple fact that every day we had to come in and watch a Black man die. That alone is stressful,” he said Wednesday, April 28. “Coming in each and every day and having to watch somebody die is stressful enough by itself, so anything outside of that was secondary, just because as a human it's natural to feel some kind of way as you're watching somebody in agony.”
Mitchell said that there were days he didn’t know how he could keep coming back to watch the footage.
Mitchell said that when the 12 jurors first went into deliberations and took a preliminary vote on the manslaughter charge, one juror was unsure of whether Chauvin was guilty. But he said he thought it was because of the terminology, which "can be tricky. It's legal jargon."
"Sometimes, the words can be interpreted differently," Mitchell said, adding that the juror wanted to do their due diligence. But after they broke down the definitions, all jurors were in agreement on a guilty verdict.
Williams, 33 was one of the most vocal bystanders on the sidewalk during Floyd’s 2020 arrest outside Cup Foods in south Minneapolis. He can be heard on bystander video loudly admonishing Chauvin for keeping his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck as Floyd pleads that he can’t breathe.
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He told the court he called 911 to report Chauvin’s behavior in Floyd’s arrest, convinced that Chauvin had killed the man in his custody.
“Him early on, he set the tone for the rest of the trial,” Mitchell said of Williams.
Tobin, the breathing expert, concluded that Floyd died from a low level of oxygen, due to “shallow breathing.” During his testimony for the prosecution, he gave jurors a brief anatomy lesson and explained how pressure on the neck affects the ability to breathe.
"I thought he just broke it down in a manner that was easy for all the jurors to understand," Mitchell said. "I didn't think there was any way for the defense to come back after that. To me, the case was done at that point, almost.”
He said the experience has impacted him, especially because he's a larger Black man.
"I'm about (6 feet 4 inches tall), 250 pounds, and some of the testimony, like saying how size could be considered, is it a risk or a threat, whereas me, I'm a gentle giant, stuff like that affects me,” Mitchell said.
On his perception of Chauvin, Mitchell told CNN that he thought the former officer had a confident look early in the trial, but that his attitude appeared to change as testimony continued.
"As the case went on his demeanor kind of changed to more of a confused look as this isn't how it's supposed to go," he said. "I didn't see any remorse."
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