Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced Sunday that he is appointing state Attorney General Keith Ellison to lead prosecutions related to the death of George Floyd. “Folks across Minnesota [have been] making it very clear that they don’t trust the process,” said Walz. “They don’t believe justice can be served, [so] we have to make sure trust is restored.”
Floyd was an African-American man detained by Minneapolis Police for allegedly using a counterfeit bill on May 25. Widely-circulated footage shows that Floyd did not resist arrest as four officers handcuffed him. Afterward, Officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee [WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT] on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd stated that “I can’t breathe” repeatedly. Floyd became unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has since charged Chauvin with counts of manslaughter and third-degree murder, and has declared that subsequent charges are possible.
During the past week, protests have erupted across the Minneapolis and the US. Walz issued a curfew order on May 29. On May 31, the curfew was extended as a result of ongoing violence. “I urge all Minnesotans to respect the curfew in the Twin Cities as we take necessary action to protect the safety of our communities,” Walz said.
Walz hopes that appointing Ellison to lead prosecution efforts against Officer Chauvin will result in some restoration of trust from Minneapolis’s African American community. “This decision … takes us in the direction of getting justice for George Floyd,” Walz said in his press conference.
“It is with a large degree of humility that I accept leadership on this critical case,” said Ellison. “We are pursuing justice, we are pursuing truth, and we are pursuing accountability … on behalf of the people of Minnesota.”