Minnesota Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith EllisonAttorney says ex-officer will testify at trial in Daunte Wright killing Former Rep. Raúl Labrador running for Idaho attorney general Keith Ellison seeking reelection as Minnesota attorney general MORE (D), who has assumed control of the prosecution of the Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, said Monday that he is “very seriously looking at” whether to prosecute the three officers present at the scene who so far do not face charges.
“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.
Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after video emerged of him kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck for several minutes despite Floyd’s protests that he was unable to breathe. The other three officers have been fired but not charged.
Ellison warned about the historical difficulty of successfully prosecuting police officers, even with video evidence.
He noted that the police officers who were caught on video beating Rodney King in Los Angeles were not convicted.
Neither was North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who was charged after shooting Walter Scott in the back in South Carolina. Slager falsely claimed Scott had attempted to grab his stun gun. A mistrial was declared when the jury deadlocked, although Slager later pleaded guilty to civil rights violations.
“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.”
Ellison also called on protesters to disavow any “provocateurs” committing vandalism or damaging property, saying, “Don't let these people do this. We need you to keep the righteous cause clear and make a clear moral signal that we're calling for justice. We're not going to blur the line by letting somebody who's actually committing crimes and defaming the movement get away with it.”