Maxine Roils the Chauvin Waters


Rep. Maxine Waters in Brooklyn Center, Minn., April 17.



Photo:

Dominick Sokotoff/Zuma Press

Well, this certainly is a mess, and let’s hope it doesn’t turn tragic.

Maxine Waters,

the House Financial Services Committee chair, might have poisoned the

Derek Chauvin

trial now reaching its conclusion in Minneapolis.

That’s the view expressed Monday by Hennepin County District Judge

Peter Cahill,

who is presiding over the prosecution of Mr. Chauvin for the murder of

George Floyd

last May. Defense attorney

Eric Nelson

urged Judge Cahill to declare a mistrial after Ms. Waters made incendiary remarks to a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn Center near Minneapolis on the weekend.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill during the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, April 19.



Photo:

pool/Reuters

Judge Cahill denied the request but said, “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”

The judge added that “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’s right in his wish, and he could be right about an appeal depending on how the jury rules in the case.

Ms. Waters tried to rile up the crowd to protest an acquittal. “I hope we get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty,” she said. “And if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to stay on the street. . . . We get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational.”

That also sounds like an attempt to influence the jury by suggesting that an acquittal would result in more street protests and perhaps violence. The comments are especially potent, and dangerous, in a city that endured widespread looting, violence and destruction after Floyd’s death in policy custody.

Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

on Monday tried to soft-sell the Congresswoman’s comments as simply referring to confrontation “in the manner of the civil-rights movement.” But anyone who remembers last year’s riots, and understands the anxiety today in Minneapolis as a verdict in the trial nears, knows this is disingenuous. Ms. Waters was deliberately inciting people, at a moment of high tension, to take to the streets and get “confrontational” if the verdict isn’t one they like.

Ms. Waters’s remarks are grounds for censure by the House. And if her words become the basis for an appeal of a guilty verdict, she will be responsible if Mr. Chauvin goes free.

Wonder Land: Public and political condemnation of the Capitol riot is virtually universal, and rightly so. But why does condemnation of the violence committed during the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests remain selective, at best. Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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