Washington, DC – President Joe Biden called to offer support to George Floyd’s family on Monday and then said he was praying for the jury to reach the “right verdict” in the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
President Biden made the comments from the White House during a meeting with the Hispanic Caucus on Tuesday as the jury in Minneapolis entered its second day of deliberations.
“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they are feeling, and so I waited until the jury is sequestered and I called,” the President said.
He claimed he wasn’t going to mention it publicly because it was a private conversation with “a good family” who was “calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is.”
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury is sequestered,” President Biden added.
Joe Biden on the Chauvin trial: "I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict, which I think is overwhelming in my view."pic.twitter.com/aJDQlZGHO4
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) April 20, 2021
Although he did not directly say that he wanted to see Chauvin convicted, his meaning was clear.
The President is just the latest political figure to express his opinion on the Floyd trial verdict.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill said after the jury left the courtroom on April 19 that calls for a “guilty, guilty, guilty” verdict by lawmakers could result in “the whole trial being overturned” and then the mayor of Minneapolis did that exact thing.
Cahill was referring to remarks made by U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-California) over the weekend.
“But I’m very hopeful,” Waters told the assembled crowd of protesters. “And I hope that we’re going to get a verdict that will say guilty guilty guilty. And if we don’t, we cannot go away.”
She told reporters that a manslaughter verdict from the jury wouldn’t be sufficient, the video showed.
“Oh no, not manslaughter,” Waters insisted. “This is guilty for murder. I don’t know whether it’s in the first degree but as far as I’m concerned, it’s first-degree murder.”
Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd.
“We gotta stay on the streets and we’ve gotta get more active,” Waters urged the protesters. “We’ve gotta get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
The congresswoman has been accused of inciting a riot with her remarks but numerous Republican lawmakers, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) defended her colleague and said she owed no apology, according to The Hill.
A video of Waters’ call to action the night before closing arguments began in Chauvin’s trial for the murder of Floyd quickly went viral.
After the jury left the courtroom to begin deliberations on April 19, Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, argued that Waters’ comments could have prejudiced the jury and therefore merited a mistrial.
“We have U.S. representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to this specific case. It’s mind-boggling to me judge,” Nelson told the judge.
“Well, I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” the judge said.
But then he denied the defense attorney’s motion for a mistrial and said “a congresswoman’s opinion doesn’t really matter a whole lot.”
“This goes back to what I’ve been saying since the beginning,” Cahill told the attorneys. “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function.”
“I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so… in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution and to respect a co-equal branch of government. Their failure to do so is abhorrent,” the judge ranted, showing the most emotion he has ever displayed during the trial.
But Cahill said he didn’t feel the jury had been prejudiced by Waters’ remarks because he had instructed them not to read or watch the news.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey appeared to jump on Waters’ bandwagon just moments after the judge made his remarks about politicians keeping their opinions to themselves.
Jacob Frey, the Mayor of Minneapolis, couldn’t even wait 10 minutes to do what Judge Cahill just asked elected officials not to do! Another appeal gift! Amazing. pic.twitter.com/QrTUbWpl1x
— Starscream CIA-Simulation Warlord 🇺🇸🦈🇺🇸 (@zerosum24) April 19, 2021
“Regardless of the outcome of this trial, regardless of the decision made by the jury, there is one true reality – which is that George Floyd was killed at the hands of police,” Frey told reporters at a press conference on Monday evening.
City officials are prepared for violent protests and riots regardless of what verdict the jury returns.