Hennepin County judge Peter Cahill reproached Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) on Monday for interfering in the trial of Derek Chauvin and encouraging civil unrest in Minneapolis, saying the congresswoman's rhetoric violated her oath of office and disrespected the rule of law.
"I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function," said Cahill, who is presiding over the trial. The judge said Waters, who said protesters should get "confrontational" if the jury finds Chauvin not guilty, violated her oath to the Constitution—a failure he called "abhorrent."
Waters traveled over the weekend to Brooklyn Center, Minn., the site of the recent police shooting that killed Daunte Wright, to gin up activists awaiting a verdict in the Chauvin trial. The congresswoman balked at anything less than a guilty verdict on all three counts—second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter—and encouraged protesters to "stay on the street" and "get more confrontational" should things go otherwise.
"I hope we get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty," Waters said. "And if we don't, we cannot go away. We've got to stay on the street. We get more active, we've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business."
Minneapolis is bracing for chaos and violence in the wake of the verdict, with more than 3,000 National Guard troops deployed to the city and businesses boarded up. Two officers were already injured Sunday in a drive-by shooting, and on Saturday the former home of a defense witness was vandalized with pig's blood.