MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A juror who convicted Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd is sharing his experience.
Brandon Mitchell grew up in Minneapolis. The 31-year-old is a banker and high school basketball coach.READ MORE: New Trial Not Merited For Derek Chauvin, Prosecutors Argue
He says during the trial, his focus was on the testimony and evidence. He didn’t allow the weight of the case to creep in.
“You tune everything else out, because you’re just stressed every day,” Mitchell said. “You’re watching somebody die every day over and over again on video. You’re watching somebody die on instant replay, in real life. That’s not, I mean, everything else is tuned out.”
Being part of the jury, listening and watching with intensity, took its toll.
“There’s times I turned away from the video. I mean, and I think all of us were because it was tough to watch, and you’re watching it six, seven, eight times in a row,” Mitchell said.
There was even a moment where he paused over a weekend during the trial.
“I was minutes away from calling my mom like a little kid and just saying, ‘Mom, I’m not going on Monday,’ because it was that emotional,” he said.
He went back, saying he felt he had a responsibility as a young Black man to be there.
“My representation needed to be there. So that’s kind of how I thought about it. It was like if I’m not there, who will be there?” he said.
And that’s partly why he chose to share his juror experience.
“Especially with me … wanting to be a community figure, and I’m a basketball coach, it’s important to show that you can be a strong Black man, you can be in these rooms and you can be part of these civil services,” Mitchell said.READ MORE: 'Police Misconduct Is Costly': An Examination Of Settlements In Minneapolis
Watch More Of Jennifer Mayerle’s Interview With Brandon Mitchell
Mitchell says the jury got right to work once they got the case. After picking a jury foreperson and voting to work with masks off, they first took a vote on the manslaughter charge.
“We went around the room, everybody discussed what their views were. It took about 45 minutes and we re-voted, voted again and we did guilty on that, and then we actually called it a day at that point,” Mitchell said.
He says they only deliberated about one hour the first day, and maybe four hours on day two, starting with discussing the third-degree murder charge, and how the law was written, before deciding guilt on that charge.
“And then the second degree [charge] went much quicker because we already had discussed everything we pretty much needed to. We went over all the different evidence pieces that we all wanted to, and the second degree we came to terms, you know, on a pretty quick time frame, 30 minutes or so,” he said.
Mitchell took notes throughout the trial, and says he referred back to them during deliberations.
“For me, I guess the biggest testimony that encompassed everything was Dr. [Martin] Tobin’s. I feel like the way he described everything in such a scientific manner, that made sense though, to everyone,” Mitchell said.
Dr. Tobin is a leading pulmonologist that testified about the moment George Floyd died.
“I don’t want to say [my mind] was made up [after Tobin’s testimony], but it was pretty close,” Mitchell said. “It was like well, let’s see how the defense combats this.”
Ultimately, a unanimous verdict was reached on all counts.MORE NEWS: Darnella Frazier, Teen Who Filmed George Floyd’s Murder, Awarded Special Citation From Pulitzer Prizes
“When we put in our final vote for guilty on all charges, we all kind of took a sigh of relief,” he said. “We all kind of looked around and was like wow, we got through this. It just felt good to be done with it. It felt really good to be done with it and come to a conclusion that we all could be comfortable with,” he said.