Waters, of California, appeared at a rally Saturday in Minnesota and was asked what demonstrators should do if Chauvin ― the ex-Minneapolis cop accused of pressing his knee against the neck of George Floyd ― was acquitted of murder.
“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational,” Waters replied, as seen in the clip above. “We’ve got to be sure that they know we mean business.”
Republicans, including Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), accused Waters of inciting violence. Chauvin’s defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, unsuccessfully asked for a mistrial over the comments. But in denying that request, the judge suggested that Waters may have handed the defense an appeal issue if Chauvin is convicted.
“Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Judge Peter Cahill told Nelson after jurors had left the courtroom to begin deliberating. (See the clip below.)
“This goes back to what I’ve been saying from the beginning,” the judge said, per The Daily Beast. “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, particularly in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and the judicial branch in our function. Their failure to do so is abhorrent, but I don’t think it has presented us with additional information that would prejudice the jury.”
Waters later defended her use of “confrontational” to CNN’s Manu Raju.
“The whole civil rights movement is confrontation,” Waters explained on Monday. She emphasized to The Grio that she “was nonviolent” and that “Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent.”