Minnesota man may get new trial after jurors admit they thought he must be guilty because he’s black

Credit: Fox 9/Nickole O'Neill

MINNEAPOLIS  — A Minneapolis man who has been behind bars for more than four years, is hoping for a new trial after two jurors said a racist comment during deliberations, casting the man as a “banger from the hood,” a comment that influenced their decision.

According to Fox News, the the convicted man, Michael Smith, who previously served over a decade in prison for third-degree murder, was sent back to prison in 2013 after he was found guilty of being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm.

“Look, he is a black person with a previous criminal record living in North Minneapolis,” one juror said during deliberations years ago, according to the testimony of a foreman who appeared at a federal courthouse in St. Paul on Tuesday. “You know he’s just a banger from the hood, so he’s got to be guilty.”

Fox News said two jurors said they were influenced by the comments, and Smith wound up in jail for a crime he said he did not commit.

A judge has set a hearing for early next year that could result in a new trial for Smith.