Rep. Maxine Waters calls out Chauvin trial judge: 'He was way off track'

California Democrat defends her 'confrontational' comments prior to Derek Chauvin verdict

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., defended her "get more confrontational" comments to protesters before the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial and rejected any notion that her words in Minnesota could be any grounds to overturn the ex-police officer's guilty verdict on an appeal. 

Chauvin's attorney asked for a mistrial in the case citing Waters' charged remarks to protesters prior to the jury being sequestered. The Minnesota judge on the case, Peter Cahill, denied the request but rebuked Waters' remarks from the bench as "disrespectful to the rule of law." He said Waters' comments may have presented an avenue for Chauvin to appeal and have the "whole trial being overturned."

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But Waters pushed back Saturday on Cahill's characterization.

"He was way off track," Waters said of the judge in an interview with CNN. "... He knows that there was no interference with jurors."

"To say that I'm going to cause an appeal really is not credible," Waters added.

Waters traveled to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota last weekend to show support for protesters who were demonstrating against the killing of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man who was shot by a police officer on April 11. After her remarks to the crowd, Waters stopped to talk to reporters where she said she's looking for a guilty murder verdict against Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was on trial for killing George Floyd.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., talks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, as she waits for the verdict to be read in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., talks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, as she waits for the verdict to be read in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Asked how protesters should respond if Chauvin isn't found guilty, Waters said: "We’ve got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business."

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Republicans pounced on the remarks and accused Waters of inciting violence in a community that was already on edge during the Chauvin trial, a years' worth of demonstrations against police brutality and the recent killing of Wright. 

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy introduced a resolution to censure Waters on the House floor and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., pushed to have Waters expelled from Congress. Both efforts went nowhere in the Democratic-controlled House. 

McCarthy, R-Calif., called Waters' comments "dangerous" and said the Democrat deserved the formal rebuke of a censure. 

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"This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence," McCarthy said in announcing his censure resolution that was ultimately tabled by House. 

But Waters said her words were not promoting violence and accused Republicans of attacking her "to divert attention from the fact that they are aligned with violent people" such as QAnon disciples, she said. 

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"Confrontational does not mean violence," Waters said. "I’m a not violent person. Martin Luther King taught non-violence. We must be about resisting, however. And we must be about educating and we must be about trying to protect our children."