Judge Peter Cahill had harsh words for Rep. Maxine Waters' visit to Minnesota over the weekend, but refused to declare a mistrial over them.
April 19, 2021

Over the weekend, right wing media apparently had a field day with an interview Rep. Maxine Waters did while she was at a protest for Daunte Wright. In typical right wing media fashion, they ripped her words out of context in order to gin up a racist rant about the things she says.

I haven't been able to find a video from a neutral source, but I did find one that had the spontaneous questions and Waters' responses without extra commentary. I'm not interested in feeding wingers' YouTube revenues so I will link but not embed it for anyone who wishes to watch. The controversial remarks begin at around the 7-minute mark.

Waters was asked by someone in the crowd of cameras how the George Floyd trial played into their call for justice.

"We're looking for a guilty verdict. We're looking for a guilty verdict," she said. "And we're looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after what happened to George Floyd -- if nothing does not happen then we know that we've not only got to stay in the street but we've got to fight for justice."

"But I am very hopeful and I hope that we're going to get a verdict that they say guilty guilty guilty and if we don't, we cannot go away."

At the time she was asked and answered these questions, she was not on the loudspeaker but instead in a gaggle of cameras. The questioner framed the question and she answered within that frame.

When asked about manslaughter, Waters replied, "Oh, no no no. Not manslaughter. For murder. I don't know whether it's in the first degree but as far as I'm concerned --"

What happens if you don't get that verdict, the interviewer interrupted.

"We've got to stay on the street, we've got to get more active, we've got to be more confrontational, we've got to make sure they know we mean business," Waters replied.

And when you watch it, there is no question that her answer is simply that they're not going to pick up their protest and go home, but continue to press and demand reforms. At one point, she tells people they've got to register and vote -- hardly subversive thoughts. Nevertheless, right wing agitators picked up on those remarks and blew them up in an attempt to push the story onto the front page, and apparently in front of the jury.

After the Chauvin jury was sent off to deliberate and be sequestered, the defense asked for a mistrial on the basis of Rep. Waters remarks. Judge Cahill denied the motion, but not before he read Rep. Waters the riot act.

"I'm aware of the media reports. I'm aware that Congresswoman Waters was talking specifically about this trial and about the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction and talking about being confrontational, but can you submit the press articles about that," he told defense attorney Eric Nelson.

Getting more agitated, the judge continued, "This goes back to what I've been saying from the beginning. I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that's disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function. I think if they 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 a co-equal branch of government."

By this time the judge was visibly angry.

"Their failure to do so I think is abhorrent, but I don't think it's prejudiced us with additional material that would prejudice this jury. They have been told not to watch the news. I trust they are following those instructions and that there is not in any way a prejudice beyond the articles that we're talking specifically about the facts of this case. A congresswoman's opinion really doesn't matter a whole lot."

And with that, he denied the motion. Of course, now it's just blown totally up everywhere in Wingerland, because when people are racists, they love going after strong Black women. Marge Greene is using it as an excuse to demand Waters be expelled from Congress, and Matt Gaetz is just laying low, glad he's got a way to deflect from the snowballing allegations of sex trafficking, drugs and more.

For her part, Rep. Waters is unbowed. As she should be. In an interview with TheGrio, she 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, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats] backs,” Waters added.

Yep, just ask Shirley Sherrod about that.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.