Maxine Waters has dismissed the judge in the Derek Chauvin murder trial as ‘angry’ and ‘frustrated’ after he condemned her for undermining proceedings by telling protesters to ‘fight’ if the killer cop was cleared.
Judge Peter Cahill had said that her comments could be grounds for appealing the verdict, though Waters said in an interview with CNN that those claims are ‘not credible.’
‘I think he was angry. I think he may be frustrated with this case and how much world publicity is on it and all of that,’ Waters said.
Waters, 82, told CNN that she spoke with ‘legal scholars’ who allegedly told her that Cahill’s criticism was ‘way off track.’
‘He knows that in fact, the jurors were not in the room. The jurors had an oath not to look at television, not to read the newspapers, not to engage with people on this. So he knows that there was no interference with the jurors,’ she said.
She added: ‘To say that I’m going to cause an appeal really is not credible. And whether or not they have an appeal, even if they mention my name, like the judge says, my comments don’t matter anyway.’
Judge Peter Cahill had said that her comments could be grounds for appealing the verdict, though Waters said in an interview with CNN that those claims are ‘not credible’
Cahill had said ‘A Congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot’
He ultimately rejected motions by Derek Chauvin’s legal team to have the case declared a mistrial before his verdict
California Congressman Maxine Waters was in Minnesota saying that demonstrators needed to ‘get more active, more confrontational’
Waters had made her offending remarks on the weekend before the verdict was announced that Chauvin had been convicted for murdering George Floyd last year.
The Democratic congresswoman had spoken during a visit to the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center where Daunte Wright, 20, was fatally shot by a white police officer during a traffic stop.
‘We’ve got to get justice in this country, and we cannot allow these killings to continue,’ Waters had 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.’
After Waters made her comments, Chauvin’s legal team vied for a mistrial – which was rejected by Cahill while he slammed Waters for her comments.
‘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,’ Cahill said.
He added: ‘A Congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot.’
In her comments to CNN, Waters added that her comments have been misconstrued by critics on the right who condemned her for seemingly encouraging violence.
‘Controversial does not mean violence. I am a non-violent person. Martin Luther King talked about non-violence. We must be about resisting, however, and we must be about educating,’ Waters said.
‘Confrontation has been misused and there is an attempt by Republicans to divert attention from the fact that they are lying with violent people,’ she said referring to violent far right groups like the Oathkeepers and QAnon followers.
The congresswoman has a long history of defending violent protests and riots – and using inciteful language to encourage such acts.
Derek Chauvin has been convicted for the murder of George Floyd
Waters grew up in the projects of St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Los Angeles with her family after graduating high school in 1961 where she attended college and started her political career.
She was the fifth of 13 children and was raised by a single mom after her father left when she was two.
Notably, as a young woman in the 1950s she bused tables as a restaurant chain in St. Louis that refused to serve black customers. When she was taking a break, Waters had to eat her meals in the basement of the restaurant with other black workers.
Waters said she was never ashamed of her past working in that restaurant or depending on welfare for food and a roof.
In 1976, Waters became a California State Assemblywoman and was the first woman to become Assembly Democratic Caucus head. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent California’s 29th congressional district in 1990.
Waters was vocal during the deadly LA Riots in 1992. She refused to call the violence a riot, instead dubbing it a ‘rebellion’ – even though her office was burned down during the unrest.
The riots ensued after the acquittal of four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King, a black man. A video of the incident was captured and circulated.
‘There are those who would like for me … to tell people to go inside, to be peaceful, that they have to accept the verdict,’ Waters said during a 1992 press conference.
‘I accept the responsibility of asking people not to endanger their lives. I am not asking people not to be angry,’ she continued.
‘I am angry, and I have a right to that anger, and the people out there have a right to that anger.’
Maxine Waters (left) pictured April 1973 in Los Angeles
Maxine Waters comments on the widespread LA riots during a press conference in 1992: ‘There are those who would like for me … to tell people to go inside, to be peaceful, that they have to accept the verdict’
The death toll from the riots reached 64, which included nine shot by law enforcement. Of the dead, 28 were black. Reports at the time indicate as many as 2,383 people were injured in some capacity.
Waters insisted that the majority of the looting in LA during that time was just so poor mothers could get necessities for their children.
At the time, she called the violence ‘a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice and a lot of alienation and frustration.’
‘There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes. Maybe they shouldn’t have done it, but the atmosphere was such that they did it. They are not crooks,’ Waters defended while speaking on Michael Jackson’s KABC radio talk show in 1992.
She also told a Los Angeles Times reporter at the time: ‘One lady said her children didn’t have any shoes. She just saw those shoes there, a chance for all of her children to have new shoes. God damn it! It was such a tear-jerker. I might have gone in and taken them for her myself.’
Waters said her office burning down in the riots was not personal. She said she wasn’t ‘angry at all’ and the office was just ‘one of the victims of the rebellion.’