U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters is drawing heat from some Republicans who are accusing her of “threatening violence” and “inciting a riot” ahead of the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. Closing arguments are set for Monday and a verdict could come as early as this week.
Waters was in Brooklyn Center, Minn. on Saturday and joined the crowd on the streets protesting the deadly police shooting of Duante Wright. Hundreds of people have been gathering daily outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station since Sunday, when former Officer Kim Potter, who is White, shot the 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop.
“This is a very difficult time in the history of this country,” Waters said. “We have to let people know that we are not going to be satisfied unless we get justice in these cases.”
Brooklyn Center is a suburb of Minneapolis, which is where George Floyd was killed during an encounter with police nearly a year ago. The trial for Chauvin, the officer involved, is ongoing.
On Saturday, Waters was asked her thoughts if Chauvin were to be found not guilty. Chauvin is accused of killing Floyd on May 25, 2020 after he was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. He’s charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“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,” Waters told reporters if the former police officer isn’t found guilty.
Waters said she was “hopeful” Chauvin would be convicted of murder, but if he isn’t she said, “we cannot go away.”
The 82-year-old congresswoman decried the 11 p.m. curfew set by authorities in Brooklyn Center as a way to tamp down demonstrations.
“The way to get in control is not to allow them to win,” Waters said of political opponents, in comments that aired on FOX 9 in Minneapolis. “You’ve got to register and you’ve got to vote and you’ve got to take the power.”
Several Republican lawmakers have slammed Waters comments.
“Why is Maxine Waters traveling to a different state trying to incite a riot? What good can come from this?” Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., wrote on Twitter.
Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene said she plans to introduce a resolution to expel Waters from Congress, calling her a “danger to society.”
“As a sitting United States Congresswoman @MaxineWaters threatened a jury demanding a guilty verdict and threatened violence if Chauvin is found not guilty. This is also an abuse of power,” Greene tweeted.
Meanwhile, Waters said she plans to stay in Minnesota until Monday for the closing arguments, New York Times reporter Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs reported.