Finding Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd was a “no-brainer”, one of the jurors in the trial has said.
Brandon Mitchell said he and the 11 other jurors could have completed their deliberations within the 10 hours they actually took – and might have finished in just 60 minutes.
They did not need much thinking time, the 31-year-old high school basketball coach added.
“For the most part, we did go in and come straight out,” he told NBC’s Today.
The jury was unanimous in finding Chauvin guilty last week. The former police officer could now spend decades in jail.
Presenter Craig Melvin asked Mr Mitchell if there was a “tipping point” that made him think Chauvin was guilty.
Mr Mitchell said he found the evidence given by Dr Martin Tobin particularly important, because he “broke everything down but still kept it very scientific”.
Dr Tobin, a world-renowned breathing expert, told the courtroom in Minneapolis he had watched the footage of George Floyd’s arrest “hundreds of times”, and believed the 46-year-old died from a “lack of oxygen”.
“That was kind of the point where I was like, okay, I don’t know how the defence comes back from this,” Mr Mitchell said.
He was unsure whether Chauvin could have made a difference by deciding to give evidence.
“But I don’t think it would have hurt,” he said. “I mean, we found him guilty on all charges, so I don’t think it would have hurt. It probably could have only helped him at that point.”
Nevertheless, Mr Mitchell said he thought the “evidence was overwhelming that he was guilty, in my opinion. I thought it was a no-brainer”.
He told the TV network: “After Dr Tobin and all the other witnesses and all the evidence, I mean, I didn’t see anything, any reason why we should have taken longer than an hour (to reach verdicts).”
Asked about Chauvin’s demeanour during the trial, Mr Mitchell said the now convicted murderer “looked like he was very confident the first week/week and a half”.
But that confidence weakened as “more and more witnesses came up”.
Chauvin and his team of lawyers “seemed like they were deteriorating, their confidence, and it was getting lower and lower and lower as the trial went on”, Mr Mitchell said.
Craig Melvin brought up reports claiming one of the jurors had been “on the fence”, asking Mr Mitchell: “What ultimately brought that one juror around?”
Mr Mitchell replied: “I wouldn’t necessarily say they were on the fence. I think they just wanted to do their due diligence and make sure that they understood the terminology correct and they understood exactly what the judge’s instructions were in relation to that specific charge.”
It was suggested to Mr Mitchell that “some corners of (the) media” felt the verdict had been “predetermined”, that “you felt the pressure going in, and that if you didn’t come up with a guilty verdict, that things were going to go badly”.
But Mr Mitchell said that was “just so dismissive of the entire process”.
He added: “We’re everyday civilians that put our families, our jobs, and our days aside to serve justice.
“I mean, we all walked in with an open mind, and we left with a guilty verdict. We just felt the evidence was overwhelming for our verdict. It had nothing to do with pressure from anywhere.”