Minnesota Man May Get New Trial After Jurors Admit They Thought He Must Be Guilty Because He's Black

A Minneapolis man may get a new trial after two jurors came forward and admitted that racism was a major reason why they chose to convict him.

Local news station Fox 9 reports that two jurors are now saying that they were influenced by racist arguments made by another juror during deliberations when they decided to convict Michael Smith, who has been in jail for the past five years for illegally possession a firearm as a convicted felon.

Smith was accused by police of illegally possessing a firearm just months after he was released after serving a ten-year prison sentence for a third-degree murder charge. The police never produced any concrete evidence linking Smith to the firearm in question, so the trial came down to whose word jurors chose to believe.

The jury foreman said this week that a major reason they chose to believe the police was because of racism — and they said that one juror told his peers that Smith must be guilty because “he is a black person with a previous criminal record living in North Minneapolis… you know he’s just a banger from the hood.”

Smith has maintained his innocence the entire time and has insisted that his conviction was completely unfounded. According to Fox 9, the new revelations of racism on the part of jurors are “enough to get a new hearing early next year and a possible new trial.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.