Riots following police shooting in Minneapolis suburb make a fair trial for Chauvin impossible
The National Guard has been called out to control rioting in the wake of a police shooting in the northern Minneapolis lower-middle-class suburb of Brooklyn Center (whose Caucasian population is 44.5%, according to Census Bureau estimates). Rioters behaved with a hair-trigger response, with at least one shot fired into the police station and looting reported locally and many miles distant, on Lake Street in Minneapolis, which received the brunt of the riot, looting, and arson damage following the drug overdose death of George Floyd while in police custody.
KARE TV 11 reports:
A curfew is in place for the city of Brooklyn Center through 6 a.m. Monday after tensions following a shooting involving law enforcement.
A large crowd gathered near the scene as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the fatal shooting of a driver following a traffic stop. (snip)
[N]umerous law enforcement agencies were called to assist as hundreds gathered outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Headquarters.
"Within hours of that, a secondary group, we heard, was at the Shingle Creek Mall...and we have reports of approximately 20 businesses that were broken into during that period[.]"
According to Brooklyn Center Police, whose body cameras reportedly were functioning, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was stopped for a minor traffic infraction (a deodorizer hanging from his rearview mirror) and fled the scene when it was determined that an arrest warrant was out for him. An officer fired at his fleeing vehicle and fatally wounded him, as his vehicle crashed, injuring a female passenger who accompanied him.
A state agency that reports to the liberal Democrat Governor Tm Walz, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is investigating the police shooting. But rioters and looters sprang into action gathering outside police headquarters, where they were tear-gassed, and taking the opportunity to loot elsewhere — at least ten miles away, in the city of Minneapolis for the sort of goods coveted by urban youths:
UPDATE: Looting has now spread to parts of Minneapolis. This cell phone store on East Lake Street, near Lyndale was hit. The front door apparently smashed by a rock. @KARE11 pic.twitter.com/Ik9jzVaPQz— Dave Peterlinz (@DPet_KARE11News) April 12, 2021
The (formerly?) upscale Uptown district in Minneapolis, on West Lake Street, also was reportedly hit with looting.
The jurors in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin are not being sequestered and so are almost certainly aware of the riots, making it very difficult for them to deliver any not guilty verdict, given the threat to their personal safety, not to mention the threat of all-out riots and mayhem. While local media have not identified them by name, "profiles" of the jury members, indicating age, race, ethnicity, and the type of work they perform have been published, making identification of them comparatively easy.
With this demonstration of the willingness of thugs to attack, it is hard to imagine a fair trial taking place. I would guess that defense counsel will request a mistrial, though I am no expert in such matters. The judge's earlier denial of a change of venue request by the defense now looks even worse. There are courthouses in towns 2–300 miles away in Northern Minnesota, where there is a far better chance of a fair trial, should the judge grant a mistrial and a change of venue.
But I am not holding my breath.
Photo credit: Twitter screen grab.
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