Instead, Carlson argued, the jurors were intimidated into the guilty verdict by the months of racial justice protests that followed Floyd’s death.
“The jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial came to a unanimous and unequivocal verdict this afternoon: ‘Please don’t hurt us,’” Carlson said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Carlson added, “Everyone understood perfectly well the consequences of an acquittal in this case. After nearly a year of burning and looting and murder by BLM, that was never in doubt.”
Carlson’s show, which was devoted entirely to attacking the trial as unfair because of protests and statements by Democrats urging a guilty verdict, stood in stark contrast to several prominent colleagues on Fox News who celebrated the result.
As The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr reported, Jeanine Pirro, a former county judge who is an opinion host on Fox, said “clearly, the verdict is supported by the facts.” Fox News co-host Juan Williams added “it would have been a kick in the stomach” if Chauvin had been acquitted.
Carlson has long cast doubt on the case against Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes before his death. In February, Carlson said, “There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop. The autopsy showed that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose, fentanyl.”
In fact, two autopsies — one private and one done by Hennepin County — both concluded Floyd’s death was a homicide.
On Monday, Carlson accused the media of “lynching” Chauvin, adding that most Americans “still cannot say with any specificity just how” Floyd died.
After Tuesday’s guilty verdict, Carlson and several guests argued the trial was tainted by the mass movement for police accountability that arose nationwide over Floyd’s death, as well as by public pleas from Democrats including President Biden.
Carlson noted of Chauvin that “if given the maximum sentence under the law, he will spend the rest of his life in prison,” and then asked, “Is that a fair punishment? Is the officer guilty of the specific crimes for which he was just convicted? We can debate all that.”
He then pointed to racial justice protests and argued that they had subverted the criminal justice system.
“No mob has the right to destroy our cities,” he said. “No politician or media figure has the right to intimidate a jury.”
He added, “It’s an attack on civilization.”
Carlson’s guests echoed that assertion, including conservative commentator Candace Owens.
“What we’re really seeing is mob justice. That’s really what happened with this entire trial,” she said, later adding, “This was not a fair trial. No person can say this was a fair trial.”
Later in the show, one guest tried to push back on Carlson’s claims and was quickly rebuffed. Ed Gavin, a former New York City law enforcement official, called Chauvin’s actions “pure savagery” and said “the verdict was just.”
As Gavin continued talking about changes he would like to see police make in how they approach arrests, Carlson interrupted.
“Yeah, well, the guy who did it looks like he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison so I’m kind of more worried about the rest of the country, which, thanks to police inaction, in case you haven’t noticed, is, like, boarded up,” Carlson said before laughing loudly.
He then cut Gavin’s video feed, saying, “Nope. Done.”