Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, a Black man, was convicted on three counts yesterday, with the jury finding him guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Right-wing reaction to the verdict was just as one would expect: ugly.
As protests erupted across the country protesting the death of Floyd and killings of Black Americans last spring, right-wing operative Candace Owens cast Floyd as “a horrible human being,” implying that Floyd somehow deserved to be killed. But she didn’t stop there: Owens also criticized the outrage expressed over his death as catering to “the bottom denominator of our society.” So it came as no surprise last night when we learned that she thought the verdict was wrong, telling Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Tuesday that the verdict was “mob justice.”
“No person can say this was a fair trial,” she added.
On Tucker, Candace Owens calls the Chauvin verdict "mob justice" and declares that "this was not a fair trial. No person can say this was a fair trial." pic.twitter.com/A9OtJaKa9K
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) April 21, 2021
Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis took to her new Just the News podcast show, “Just the Truth,” to tell viewers that Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd because the jury was influenced by leftists to make him “pay for the sins of white people, collectively.”
Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis says Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd because the jury was influenced by leftists to make him "pay for the sins of white people, collectively." pic.twitter.com/GyKDgYZSFz
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) April 20, 2021
Far-right operative Mike Cernovich pushed a narrative that the conviction would lead to police to strike and stop doing their jobs with a #BlueFlu hashtag—and it was somehow the fault of people opposed to the overuse of lethal force against Black people and other people of color. “Democrats have spoken – they do not want police to enforce the law,” he claimed on Twitter. “Police will stop doing their jobs. Get out of the cities. Live in a deep red area where you’re allowed to have lawful concealed carry,” he said in another tweet.
Cernovich’s buddy, Jack Posobiec, echoed that claim. “Blue Flu will be the next pandemic,” he said on Twitter, before tweeting incessantly about the “antifa” bogeyman used by right-wing operatives to strike fear into the hearts of white suburbanites.
“You all know Derek Chauvin did not get a fair trial,” said Ryan Fournier, co-chair of Turning Point Action, the political arm of the campus-based right-wing group Turning Point USA. Fournier was also an organizer of the so-called Stop the Steal movement, which was concocted to promote the false claim of a presidential election allegedly snatched from the incumbent Donald Trump. In January, Fournier spoke on the same Stop the Steal rally stage in Washington, D.C., where speakers advocated rebellion.
QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., never one to pass up an opportunity to fearmonger about Black Lives Matter, claimed on Twitter, “BLM has now proven itself to be the most powerful domestic terrorists organization in our country.” Greene seems especially fixated on Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., a Black woman who told a reporter that if Chavin was acquitted, protesters would need to become more confrontational. She closed her tweet with this line: “After Maxine Waters threats could there have been any other verdict?”
Omar Navarro, who was arrested in 2019 for stalking his ex, DeAnna Lorraine, also blamed Waters for the conviction. “George Floyd was a crack head and Chauvin was not guilty. Sad part a bunch of leftist jurors are biased because of people like Maxine Waters,” he said on Twitter. Navarro unsuccessfully ran against Waters in 2018 and again in 2020.
Far-right podcast host Ethan Ralph, who was accused of posting revenge porn of an 18-year-old woman last summer, lashed out at Black Lives Matter. “BLM has their knee on the neck of America right now,” he claimed on Twitter.
Scott Morefield of Townhall suggested that the jury chose the verdict they did not because of the video from multiple angles showing Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, but because they felt threatened by protesters.
Far-right writer and pundit Cassandra Fairbanks felt bad for Chauvin. “Poor Chauvin. This is awful. He is a political prisoner. Nobody can change my mind on this,” she tweeted.
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh pushed the idea that Floyd died from the fentanyl in his system and not the knee on his neck, saying, “George Floyd’s death will go down as the most consequential drug overdose in history.”
Islamophobe and far-right activist Laura Loomer took to Parler where she was predictably outraged, declaring Floyd a “degenerate thug” and Chauvin innocent.
Laura Loomer is predictably outraged that Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murdering George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/OZugWYiHqR
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) April 20, 2021
Gun activist Kaitlin Bennett claimed, “There is only institutional racism against whites. There is only police brutality against conservatives and small business owners.”
Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, said, “the verdict today makes me sick,” in a video captured by American Bridge 21st Century.
— American Bridge 21st Century (@American_Bridge) April 21, 2021
In the 24 hours since Chauvin’s conviction, right-wing activists have pivoted to tweeting about the death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black girl who was shot dead by the police after appearing to swing at another girl with a knife, according to The Columbus Dispatch, in a version of whataboutism we’ve come to expect.