President Joe Biden appeared to justify the public pressure placed on the jury in the trial of former Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter Tuesday in the death of George Floyd.
Earlier Tuesday, the White House had declined to condemn Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for threatening unrest unless there was a guilty verdict. The jury was not sequestered at the time.
In remarks from the White House to the nation, Biden said: “A jury who heard the evidence, carried out their civic duty, in the midst of an extraordinary moment, under extraordinary pressure. For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver a just — just basic accountability.”
Critics have said that Waters’s remarks, and the judge’s failure to sequester the jury, could result in the verdict being overturned appeal — a possibility that the judge himself acknowledged.
Biden did say that violent protest was unacceptable: “There are those who will seek to exploit the raw emotions of the moment, agitators and extremists who have no interest in social justice, who seek to carry out violence, destroy property, fan the flames of hate and division. They’ll do everything in their power to stop this country’s march toward racial justice. We can’t let them succeed.”
He added that the country needed to root out “systemic racism” so that “black and brown people … don’t have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life in the course of just living their life.”