The murder case against a former Minneapolis police officer in the death of George Floyd has now resulted in convictions on all counts, but one liberal lawmaker’s public remarks on the topic have potentially placed trial’s that outcome in jeopardy.
As The Hill reports, after instructing jurors on the process of deliberation on Monday, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill blasted Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for telling Minnesota protestors over the weekend to “get more confrontational” if Derek Chauvin was not convicted of murder, with the jurist opining that political leaders should cease commenting on the trial.
Waters’ controversial appearance Saturday in Brooklyn Center, the site of a new round of protests related to the police-involved death of Daunte Wright earlier this month, came amid the mobilization of National Guard troops to the area and the establishment of a curfew in an attempt to quell the unrest and prevent a repeat of the destruction that ensued across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death.
In reaction to Waters’ comments, Judge Cahill said, according to NBC News, “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.” Addressing concerns raised by one of Chauvin’s attorneys about Waters’ involvement, he added, “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
Cahill’s criticisms echoed those raised earlier in the day by numerous Republican lawmakers, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) vowed to introduce a censure resolution in the lower chamber, stating, “This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence,” as Politico reported.
Noting that not long after Waters spoke in Minnesota, two members of the state’s National Guard were injured in a drive-by shooting, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) issued a statement demanding the congresswoman’s expulsion from the House, saying:
After traveling across state lines to incite riots, [Waters’] orders recorded on video…directly led to more violence….As a sitting United States Congresswoman, Rep. Maxine Waters threatened a jury demanding a guilty verdict and threatened violence of Chauvin is found not guilty.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected the notion that Waters should apologize for her remarks and defended her Democrat colleague against the threat of official sanctions on Monday, saying, “Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement.” When asked whether the congresswoman’s comments constituted an incitement to violence, Pelosi replied, “No, absolutely not,” according to ABC News.
For her part, when questioned about the criticism she has received over her exhortation to the demonstrators in Brooklyn Center and the judge’s remarks about her conduct, Waters declared, “The judge says my words don’t matter,” an apparent reference to Cahill’s denial of a last-minute defense request for a mistrial, as Fox News noted.
Considering that Waters and Pelosi were among the most vocal proponents of the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump, with the former accusing him of “trying to create a Civil War,” by asking supporters on Jan. 6 to “peacefully and patriotically make [their] voices heard,” the rank hypocrisy of their conduct in the past few days is indeed infuriating, if not terribly surprising.