Chauvin juror: Bodycam footage, expert led to conviction
MINNEAPOLIS — One of the jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin of murder in George Floyd ’s death says expert testimony about asphyxiation and the former Minneapolis police officer's own body camera video convinced her he was guilty.
Journee Howard, a 25-year-old acting and modeling student, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the video footage was the most compelling evidence in his conviction.
“The bodycam footage and audio was more damaging against Derek Chauvin than anything else,” she said. “When you get to be in the position of those men and hear the conversations of those men, that was overwhelming.”
She also said Dr. Martin Tobin’s testimony helped sway her. Tobin is a lung specialist who supported prosecutors’ argument that Floyd died from asphyxiation as a direct result of Chauvin and two other officers pinning him to the ground. She said she found him especially credible because he wasn't paid for his testimony.
“He was fantastic,” Howard said. “He was very, very convincing. He was probably my favorite.”
Howard also praised Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who testified that his department doesn’t train officers to use the tactics Chauvin employed.
Howard, who identified herself during the jury selection process as the biracial daughter of a white mother and Black father, said she didn't like how defense attorney Eric Nelson was so confrontational with witness Donald Williams III, who was standing nearby as Chauvin, who is white, pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee on the Black man's neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds.
Nelson tried to make Williams “seem angry and emotional in a negative way,” Howard said. ”(Williams) did an excellent job staying poised and truthful in his testimony."
She added it wouldn't have made a difference if Chauvin had decided to take the stand in his own defense.
“If he had something he really, really wanted to say to get off, he would have,” she said.
Howard is the second juror to speak publicly about the guilty verdict. Brandon Mitchell told The Associated Press in April that convicting Chauvin was an easy decision.
Mitchell, who is Black, defended himself in May from accusations that he was biased against Chauvin after word surfaced that he attended a protest last August in Washington D.C. to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech while wearing a T-shirt that read “GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS” and “BLM,” short for Black Lives Matter.
Floyd, who was Black, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin and two other Minneapolis police officers pinned him to the pavement while he was handcuffed. Floyd gasped that he couldn't breathe before he went limp. His death sparked a national reckoning on race relations and police brutality.
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