Minnesota v. Chauvin

Project Details

Party(ies) Involved

George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, Tou Thao, State of Minnesota


Minneapolis, MN

Time Frame

May 25, 2020-Present

Project Overview

Following a script deployed before, and in the shadow of COVID lockdowns and a looming presidential election, activists branded the death of George Floyd as a result of racist policing, and rioted in the streets of Minneapolis and many other American cities. Politicians aided and abetted this call for disorder. Media ignored or downplayed the resulting violence; journalists even pressured their papers’ editorial staff to follow their narrative.

Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The court denied Chauvin’s request for a change of venue (i.e., request to move the trial to a different location), despite the charged atmosphere in post-riot Minneapolis. Chauvin was convicted and sentenced to 22½ years’ imprisonment. After the trial, it was revealed that one of the jurors (Juror No. 52, Brandon Mitchell) had participated in a pretrial protest and worn a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.” Mitchell had previously answered “No” to questions in the juror questionnaire asking whether he had heard about the case or participated in demonstrations. An alternate juror (Lisa Christensen) subsequently told a reporter, “I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.” His appeal is pending.

Federal charges were also brought for violating Floyd’s civil rights. Chauvin pleaded guilty to the federal charges and was sentenced to serve 21 years for them.

Our Involvement

At a time when mainstream media generally ignored stories that didn’t fit their narrative of systemic racism, or slanted stories to fit that narrative, Legal Insurrection offered extensive reporting and detailed analysis about the violent riots that media, et al., insisted on branding “peaceful protests”; on the trial of Derek Chauvin, especially, on the facts in dispute and the circumstances raising questions about whether Chauvin received a fair trial before an impartial jury; and on poorly-veiled threats of further violence should Chauvin be acquitted. Approximately 500 people attended LIF’s live online event on April 21, 2021, following the guilty verdict.

Media Coverage

LIF devoted a great deal of coverage to the unchecked rioting that followed the death of George Floyd (here) and the subsequent trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin (here). Some of the highlights are listed below.

Coverage of the breakdown of law and order included:

Mary Chastain, MSNBC Reporter Describes Minneapolis “Protest” as “Not, Generally Speaking, Unruly” as He Stands in Front of Burning Building, LEGAL INSURRECTION (May 29, 2020).

Fuzzy Slippers, Federal Officer Murdered in Oakland Friday Identified as Patrick Underwood, LEGAL INSURRECTION (May 31, 2020).

Mary Chastain, St. Louis Retired Police Captain David Dorn Shot and Killed During Looting at Pawn Shop, LEGAL INSURRECTION (June 3, 2020).

William A. Jacobson, The Bloodletting and Wilding Is Part of An Agenda To Tear Down The Country, LEGAL INSURRECTION (June 3, 2020).

Preliminaries against Chauvin included:

William A. Jacobson, Four Former Minneapolis Police Officers, Including Derek Chauvin, Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in George Floyd Death, LEGAL INSURRECTION (May 7, 2021).

Coverage of the Chauvin trial included:

Andrew Branca, Chauvin Pre-Trial Day 1: 3d Degree Murder Throws Wrench Into Jury Selection Process, LEGAL INSURRECTION (March 8, 2021).

William A. Jacobson, Minneapolis Announces $27 Million George Floyd Settlement In Middle Of Jury Selection In Criminal Case, LEGAL INSURRECTION (March 14, 2021).

Andrew Branca, Chauvin Trial Day 9 Wrap-Up: Medical Experts Resuscitate Prosecution Case, LEGAL INSURRECTION (April 8, 2021).

Andrew Branca, Chauvin Trial Verdict Prediction (of Sorts): On legal merits alone, not guilty — but political dynamics drive injustice, LEGAL INSURRECTION (April 18, 2021).

Stacey Matthews, Alternate Juror in Derek Chauvin Trial: “I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again,” LEGAL INSURRECTION (April 23, 2021).

William A. Jacobson, VIDEO: Chauvin Post-Trial Analysis With Prof. William Jacobson and Andrew Branca, Esq., LEGAL INSURRECTION (April 25, 2021). Video of both the full April 21 program and an abbreviated version is embedded within the article.

William A. Jacobson, Chauvin Juror Admits Participating In Pre-Trial Protest, Photographed In “Knee Off Our Necks” T-Shirt, LEGAL INSURRECTION (May 4, 2021).

William A. Jacobson, Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 years in prison, LEGAL INSURRECTION (June 25, 2021).

William A. Jacobson, Derek Chauvin Files Appeal Cataloguing Pervasive Trial Misconduct and Irregularities, LEGAL INSURRECTION (April 28, 2022).