Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Bad Omen for Trials in Minnesota

You may have heard we have a high-profile trial starting this week here in the Twin Cities. It seems a lot of people are concerned about fired cop Derek Chauvin getting an impartial jury. I'm honestly more concerned that a white supremacist will fake impartiality to get on the jury.

Kind of like the case of Anthony Trifiletti, which was just heard in Saint Paul and resulted in a mistrial because the jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict. I wrote about this horrible killing last May. Trifiletti, who is a white exurban guy with a gun permit and a loaded gun handy when he drives into the scary cities, shot Douglas Lewis, a Black Saint Paul resident, after they had a fender-bender. This was my summary of the facts at the time:

a white man shot an unarmed Black man because the white guy said the Black guy was "reaching for his waistband." Gee, wonder where he's heard that defense before? I'm glad it's not going to stand up in court. (It better not stand up.) Unfortunately, only the white guy has survived to tell the tale of their altercation. But at least there are some impartial witnesses to part of it, and they don't support the white guy's version of how threatening the dead man supposedly was, according to the Pioneer Press article.

My May post includes an image of the entire Pioneer Press article with many more details. As my post in May also said, Minnesota is not a Stand Your Ground state. Trifiletti had a duty to retreat and he is obviously not a cop.

Well, I just found out from the Pioneer Press today that Trifiletti has been on trial since February 25, with the case going to the jury a week later. Yesterday it was declared a mistrial because the jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict. According to the PiPress story, 

Lewis' longtime girlfriend, Christine Hicks, said she doesn't understand how the jury couldn't find Trifiletti guilty with the evidence that was presented. "It's horrible," she said Monday. 

Of course, I did not hear the evidence presented at the trial, but I think we can imagine how they couldn't find him guilty: there was one or maybe two jurors who believed Trifiletti's fear for his life because, of course, "scary" Black man is enough for reasonable doubt.

According to the article, Trifiletti is still in custody, with bail conditions, as the county attorney's office decides whether to pursue another trial. 

They had better. This is unacceptable in my county or any county.

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