Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill criticized Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for saying protesters should get “more confrontational” if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is not found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
On Monday, Cahill dismissed Chauvin’s defense attorney’s claims that Waters’ comments could be grounds for a mistrial. However, he said, “I’m aware that Congresswoman Waters was talking specifically about this trial and about the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction and talk about being confrontational.”
“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,” he continued.
“If they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution, to respect the co-equal branch of government. Their failure to do so I think is abhorrent.”
Still, he said he believes that believes Waters’ comments would not prejudice the jury.
“A congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot,” he added.
However, he argued, “I will give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
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During a police brutality protest in Minnesota on Saturday, Waters said if Chauvin is not found guilty, “We’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
Her comments led Republicans to accuse her of inciting violence and threatening the jury.
However, Waters said, “Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent … any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it, and they send a message to all of the white supremacists.”
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