Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd last year. The jury found him guilty on counts of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter.
While some had speculated that the state was stretching in charging Chauvin with second degree murder, it was probably a foregone conclusion that the jury was going to find him guilty. With the trial being held in Minneapolis, jurors knew that they were going to face retribution if they delivered anything other than a guilty verdict.
The New York Times already started reporting details about jurors’ lives earlier, and with mobs whipped into a frenzy by Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) comments to them urging them to get more confrontational, it’s clear that anyone voting not guilty wouldn’t have had much longer to live once the mob found out who they were.
The judge in Chauvin’s trial all but admitted as much, denying Chauvin’s attorney’s motion for a mistrial but acknowledging that Waters’ comments could very well result in the verdict being overturned. The fact that the trial was held locally, where jurors could be easily targeted afterwards, that the city of Minneapolis already paid damages to Floyd’s family, and that people like Maxine Waters flew in to inflame tensions, could very well end up being used to bolster the case for Chauvin not having received a fair trial.
Given what we know, a guilty verdict for manslaughter seemed inevitable, and even a third degree murder charge could have been possible. But second degree murder seemed a stretch. If it is discovered that juror fear led to that verdict, the hot-headed comments made by Waters and her ilk could end up letting Chauvin off the hook. And rather than blaming her for that result, the professional agitators will blame police/the government/the system and will go on to riot, loot, and destroy even more of Minneapolis.
Chauvin has eight weeks until he’s sentenced, at which time he can appeal his conviction. If his appeal is successful, it could be a long, hot summer in Minneapolis.