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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has requested a new trial, claiming that he was unable to receive an unbiased jury decision at his first one.
An 82-page brief was filed by his attorney, William Mohrman, on Monday and it said that Chauvin was unable to get a fair trial in Minneapolis amid the tense climate surrounding the proceedings and the pre-trial publicity.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison after being convicted in April 2021 and he also pleaded guilty to federal charges for depriving George Floyd of his civil rights.
In addition to concerns of further unrest, should Chauvin have been acquitted, Mohrman also argued jurors were not sequestered as social justice activists rioted after Daunte Wright was killed by police officer Kim Potter while trying to flee from a traffic stop in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota during the trial.
In the brief, Mohrman pointed out that jurors were concerned for their safety and that of their loved ones and the possible implications if Chauvin was acquitted.
NPR reported at the time that when jurors would report for duty each morning in Chauvin’s trial, they do so as a group, escorted into the courthouse building by members of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office using a private entrance.
The building itself had to be fortified as the Hennepin County Government Center was surrounded by elaborate fencing and other security measures.
“It’s hard to overstate how much different downtown Minneapolis looks now than before the trial started. Many buildings near the government center have their windows boarded up. Government buildings are especially fortified, with concrete barriers and tall fences that are topped with barbed wire. Some streets are closed down completely. Behind the fences, members of the National Guard and their armored vehicles are visible,” NPR reported.
The city was “bracing for a riot” should Chauvin be acquitted, similar to what happened in the days and weeks following Floyd’s death.