Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is expressing that he will never “forget” that everybody, even the defendants, in a trial are “human beings.”
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted by jurors of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree “depraved mind” murder, and second-degree manslaughter charges on April 20. He is accused of murdering George Floyd.
During a CBS “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday night, Ellison said, “I spent 16 years as a criminal defense lawyer, so I will say I felt a little bad for the defendant. I think he deserved to be convicted, but he’s a human being.”
CBS News’ Scott Pelley reacted, saying he “did not expect” to hear from Ellison “a note of compassion for Derek Chauvin.”
Ellison responded, “I’m not in any way wavering from my responsibility. But I hope we never forget that people who are defendants in our criminal justice system that they’re human beings, they’re people.”
“I mean, George Floyd was a human being,” he continued. “So, I’m not going to ever forget that everybody in this process is a person.”
Watch the interview below:
“He deserved to be convicted,” Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says about Derek Chauvin, found guilty last week of murdering George Floyd. “But I hope we never forget that … everybody in this process is a person,” including the defendant and the victim. https://t.co/Qwq2hXNrQ1 pic.twitter.com/YEyfYsGDJc
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 25, 2021
President Joe Biden responded to the guilty verdict in the trial of Chauvin, saying on April 20, “The battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push and pull for more than 240 years — a tug of war between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.”
“At our best, the American ideal wins out,” he added. “So we can’t leave this moment or look away thinking our work is done. … We have to look at it as we did for those 9 minutes and 29 seconds. We have to listen.”
The president concluded his remarks by saying, “This can be a moment of significant change.”
Following the conviction of Chauvin, prosecutors will start to look at the three other officers involved in the arrest that led to Floyd’s death last May.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland also launched on Wednesday an investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis. The sweeping investigation “will assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests,” Garland said.
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