Keith Ellison Prosecuting George Floyd's Murderer, So That's Your Good News For Today
There are a lot of things that make it difficult to send police officers to prison for "misconduct," such as killing unarmed black people. There's racism in general, there's the fact that police officers are often not particularly inclined to arrest and charge one of their own, and then there's what happens in court, if and when they ever get that far. You've got a jury full of people who have very good reason to be scared that if they find the officers guilty, they will suddenly find themselves and their families being targeted by the police. Then you've got the prosecutors. District attorneys who, far more often than not, are on the side of police officers and who need to work with them and have a relationship with them in order to do their job. A district attorney who does not go along and get along with cops is going to have a pretty tough career.
Thus, it is a pretty good thing that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a man whose street cred and reputation very much do not depend on making racist police officers happy, will be taking the lead in prosecuting Derek Chauvin, the now former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd. Governor Tim Walz said he appointed Ellison at the request of Floyd's family and community activists — who were damn smart in pushing for it. Sometimes you just need a wartime consiglieri.
Gov. Tim Walz said Sunday that he concluded Ellison needed to take over the case from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office at the urging of Floyd's family, community activists, and some members of the Minneapolis City Council seeking a vigorous prosecution of the officer, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin.
"This decision is one that I feel takes us in that direction and the step to start getting the justice for George Floyd," Walz said Sunday. "When I spoke to the Floyd family they were very clear: They wanted the system to work for them. They wanted to believe that there was trust and they wanted to feel like the facts would be heard and justice would be served."
Ellison said he plans to "bring to bear all the resources necessary" to prosecute the case. "I just want to let the public know we are pursuing justice, we are pursuing truth, we are doing it vigorously," Ellison said.
At a press conference last night, Ellison accepted the case and promised to do everything in his power to bring justice in the prosecution of the first white officer in Minneapolis to actually be charged with the death of a black civilian. (The officer who killed Philando Castile was charged, in St. Paul.)
It with a large degree of humility and a great seriousness, I accept for my office the responsibility for leadershi… https://t.co/tRULtUDJDo— Attorney General Keith Ellison (@Attorney General Keith Ellison)1590971713.0
Ellison will be working with Minneapolis District Attorney Mike Freeman to prosecute Chauvin, who has been charged with third degree murder and first degree manslaughter; if he is convicted, the charges could result in 25 and 10 years in prison, respectively. The other three officers have not yet been charged, but Ellison says he is looking very seriously at doing so.
Via The Hill:
"We're going over it carefully and we are reviewing the video tapes, the audio tapes, all the evidence, and we will make a charging decision based on the facts that we can prove, but I don't want anybody to doubt that we are very seriously looking at that issue," Ellison said in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison.
Ellison also warned people that, historically, getting a guilty conviction in these cases is not easy, even if the prosecutors actually want one.
"I don't deny that your eyes are working well and you saw what you saw, but that doesn't mean that when we get to a courtroom that it's going to be some sort of easy slam dunk. History proves that it isn't. So what I'd say is we're going to be fair," Ellison said. "We're going to investigate the case carefully. We're going to prepare carefully."
Frankly, if they want to actually get a conviction they should be looking into having an innominate (anonymous) jury, so that jurors don't have to worry about any thin blue line shit coming back to haunt them if they determine that Chauvin is guilty (hey, they did it with Gotti). People don't want to end up getting pulled over every time they leave their house, they don't want drugs magically being found on their person, and they don't want knees on their own necks. With a prosecutor who doesn't care about keeping a good relationship with the police and a jury that doesn't fear retribution, they just may actually get a conviction.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse