LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – The judge overseeing the trial of a Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd issued a scathing rebuke of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ comments regarding its outcome Monday.
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Waters (D-Los Angeles) was in Brooklyn Center, Minn., Saturday, protesting the police shooting death of Daunte Wright, when she appeared to tell protesters that they needed to get “more confrontational” if the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial does not return a guilty verdict.
“I hope that we’re gonna get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty, and if we don’t, we cannot go away,” Waters said.
When pressed by a reporter on what protesters should do if the jury does not return a guilty verdict, Waters responded, “We’ve got to stay on the street, 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.”
Maxine Waters is marching in Brooklyn Center tonight and told people to take to the streets if Chauvin is acquitted pic.twitter.com/RemfvCCLAn
— Peace Promoter Poso (@JackPosobiec) April 18, 2021
On Monday, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill showed frustration with Waters’ rhetoric shortly after the jury was dismissed Monday to begin deliberations. Chauvin’s defense attorney had motioned for a mistrial in light of Waters’ comments. Although Cahill denied the motion he called it “disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch” for elected officials to comment on the outcome of the case.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Judge Cahill said.
“I’m aware of the media reports, I’m aware that Congresswoman Waters was talking specifically about this trial and the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction,” Cahill went on.
“I think if they (elected officials) want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful, and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the constitution, to respect co-equal branches of government,” Cahill said. “There failure to do so I think is abhorrent, but I don’t think it has prejudiced us with additional material that has prejudiced this jury, they have been told not to watch the news. I trust they are following those instructions.”
Waters told CNN Monday night that her reference to confrontation was meant in the context of the civil rights movement’s nonviolent history, saying that “the whole civil rights movement is confrontation.” When pressed on the judge presiding over Chauvin’s trial having said that her remarks could be grounds for an appeal, Waters replied, “Oh no, no they didn’t.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked at Monday’s daily White House briefing if Biden agrees with Waters’ comment, but she attempted to tamp down the president’s stance.
“He recognizes the issue of police violence against people of color, communities of color is one of great anguish, and it’s exhausting and quite emotional at times,” she said, adding, “But as he also always says, protests must be peaceful. That’s what he continues to call for.”
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)