US former police officer convicted of George Floyd murder asks for new trial

A court artist's image of Derek Chauvin during his trial.
A court artist's image of Derek Chauvin during his trial. via REUTERS - JANE ROSENBERG

Derek Chauvin, the white ex-policeman convicted of murdering African-American man George Floyd, has asked for a new trial, claiming misconduct by both the jury and prosecution.


The 45-year-old former law enforcement officer -- who knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, causing his death by asphyxiation -- faces up to 40 years in prison after being found guilty last month in a case that prompted a national reckoning on racial injustice and police brutality.

Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson argued that his client did not get a fair trial due to publicity around the case, court and prosecution errors, as well as "race-based pressure" on the jury.

He also alleges that jurors should have been isolated during the trial and that the case could only get a fair hearing in a different place.

"The publicity here (in the city of Minneapolis where Floyd died) was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings," Nelson wrote.

'Guilty. Guilty. Guilty'

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Floyd family, fiercely opposed the motion on Twitter: "No. No. No. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty."

The filing came as the impartiality of a juror in the case has been called into question after a photo surfaced of him at an anti-racism rally.

Legal experts suggest that Chauvin's defense attorney could use the photo of juror Brandon Mitchell as grounds to appeal the verdict, though the matter was not mentioned in Tuesday's pleading.

In the photo, Mitchell, a 31-year-old Black man, is seen wearing a T-shirt with a picture of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr on it, as well as the words "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" and the letters "BLM" for Black Lives Matter.

'I have a dream . . .'

Mitchell is one of only two jurors who have publicly identified themselves since the high-profile trial.

In a pre-trial questionnaire, potential jurors were asked if they had taken part in any of the protests against police brutality that followed Floyd's 25 May 2020 death.

Mitchell said he had not and could serve impartially. He told the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper that the photo was taken at a march he attended in Washington in August 2020 to mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech.

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