This is the first crack in the dam, and there will be more. I was certain this was coming.
Brandon Mitchell, a black, 31-year-old high school basketball coach on the jury that convicted Derk Chauvin, spoke to the Wall Street Journal saying that “staying anonymous wouldn’t help push for change.” If he wants Chauivin to say convicted, he should have kept quiet. From the interview (WSJ has a paywall—sorry):
Mitchell said he was pulled over for no reason by Minneapolis police dozens of times in his early 20s, usually driving his mother’s aging Chrysler Sebring. He said he has always told his players to follow the checklist his mother gave him during these encounters. Take your hat off; announce what you’re doing; be polite; do what you’re told.
Then Mitchell tells the Journal that serving on the jury made him see it was wrong that a person should be so afraid that a police officer could do them harm that they needed to change their behavior, adding,
“That’s also part of the reason why I’m speaking up now because that is a narrative that is horrible…So somebody follows directions or not, they don’t deserve to die. That’s completely ridiculous.”
THEN Mitchell says he “related” to Floyd, saying,
“I just related to it too much.Being big, you know, former athlete and all these things—it just, it really just hit home… It just felt like something that easily could have been me or anybody else that I know.”
Good thinking there, Coach! And America, welcome to the jury system.
Rueful observations in random order:
- It’s a good thing Mitchell was an athlete, because his brain is more than a little underdeveloped. The absence of critical thinking in his statements is horrifying
- A coach tells blacks to be polite and do what they are told in encounters with police because that’s how all citizens should act in encounters with police. If coaches tell their players to do this because they should be afraid of police because they are black, then that attitude poisons the advice. All citizens should be “afraid” to resist arrest because that gets them in more trouble, and should. Mitchell’s comments are incoherent: he thinks that blacks should believe they can resist arrest with impunity? That makes law enforcement impossible.
- So one juror, the only one we have heard from, believed that Floyd was deliberately killed by Chauvin? The evidence doesn’t support that.
- Mitchell’s comments show the quality of thinking you get on a jury for a complex case when you can only use people who pay little or no attention to the world around them. A juror whose thinking is this muddled is unqualified.
- He wasn’t a juror to “push for change.” He was on a jury to evaluate the evidence in a single case. Everything he mentioned in the interview—his “relating” to Floyd, his interactions with police—is, or should have been, irrelevant to that jury’s deliberations. Obviously, they weren’t in his eyes.
- Was that account of his bad experiences with police on his juror questionnaire?
- His comments made me see a flashing neon sign in my head reading, “Ineffective assistance of counsel!” How was this guy allowed on the jury by the defense, or for that matter, the judge?
Addendum: a photo has surfaced of Mitchell wearing a BLM tee shirt (“Knee off our neck!”) in 2020: