MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday that he has asked Attorney General Keith Ellison to assist Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman in the forthcoming case surrounding the death of George Floyd.
Ellison has accepted the case; they plan on meeting Monday to begin their joint work.
Over the past couple of days, Walz said he has heard a profound message from protesters: “they believe time and time again, the system works perfectly well as it was designed: to deny those rights and deny justice to communities of color.”
In response, Walz designated Ellison as the lead prosecutor on Floyd’s case.
“This case is unusual because of the way that Mr. Floyd was killed and who did it: at the hands of the defendant, who was a Minneapolis police officer,” said Ellison. “Prosecuting police officers for misconduct, including homicide and murder, is very difficult. And if you look at the cases that have been in front of the public in the last many years, it’s easy to see that is true. Every single link in the prosecutorial chain will come under attack as we present this case to a jury or a fact-finder,” he added.
On Friday, Freeman announced third-degree murder charges against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who held a knee on George Floyd’s neck for at least 8 minutes. It was the fastest that a police officer had been charged, Freeman said. The other three officers involved with Floyd’s death have yet to be charged.
Floyd’s family had previously requested Ellison take over the case from Freeman. Minneapolis City Council agreed; members asked Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday to appoint him as special prosecutor in this case.
“We’re going to be working collaboratively together,” said Ellison when he was asked what would happen if one disagreed with the other. “I don’t anticipate any problems.”
In the past, Freeman has said that this case will take time, as he emphasized the importance of investigating Floyd’s death as thoroughly as possible.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he fully supported Walz’s decision, and believes Ellison will do an excellent job.