Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced on Sunday that Keith Ellison, the state’s attorney general, will head the criminal case on the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after white police officer Derek Chauvin dug his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes during an arrest last week.
“Keith Ellison, our attorney general of Minnesota, needs to lead this case,” Walz said during a press briefing, per the Minnesota Star Tribune.
The governor told reporters that he had taken the unusual step of appointing Ellison to lead the case instead of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who would ordinarily be the one to do so, in order to assure Floyd’s family that the proper steps would be taken to prosecute those involved in the incident.
“They wanted the system to work for them,” Walz said. “They wanted to believe that there was trust, and they wanted to believe that the facts would be heard and justice would be served.”
Ellison, who was also present at the press conference, confirmed that he and Freeman would both be handling the case.
“I anticipate that we’re going to be working constructively together,” the attorney general said.
On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter over Floyd’s death. It is unknown yet if the other police officers who helped Chauvin pin down Floyd will also be charged. All officers involved have been fired.
Floyd’s death has prompted protests that have turned violent in Minneapolis and other major cities across the U.S. over the past several days.
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