How Civil Rights Lawyer Keith Ellison Led the Chauvin Prosecution

How Civil Rights Lawyer Keith Ellison Led the Chauvin Prosecution

Author Tim Arango
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Still, while Mr. Hussein called the Chauvin conviction a landmark, he was reluctant to give Mr. Ellison too much credit because he said the evidence and public awareness of the case, especially from the harrowing bystander video, was so overwhelming that anything less than a conviction would have been a stark failure.

After the verdict in the Chauvin case was read on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Ellison, who in the coming months will prosecute three other officers charged in Mr. Floyd’s death who are scheduled to go on trial in August, was measured in his remarks. He said the outcome was simply a starting point that he hoped would lead to a wide-scale reckoning with police abuses against people of color.

“I would not call today’s verdict justice, however,” Mr. Ellison said. “Because justice implies there is restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step toward justice.”

During a meeting on Tuesday night with his team, Mr. Ellison noted that he had spent some of the day with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and that Mr. Jackson had been with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the day he died in Memphis in 1968. Mr. Katyal said that Mr. Ellison “drew a link” in the meeting between what the prosecutors did over the last year in achieving justice for Mr. Floyd and the work of Dr. King and the civil rights activists of the 1960s.

In his public remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Ellison invoked the Kerner Commission, a group appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 to investigate the causes of uprisings over racial injustice in American cities.

“Here we are in 2021 still addressing the same problem,” he said, before reciting the names of other Black people killed by the police, including Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Philando Castile and Daunte Wright, who was killed by an officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center during the Chauvin trial.

“This has to end,” Mr. Ellison continued. “We need true justice. That’s not one case. That is a social transformation that says that nobody is beneath the law and no one is above it.”

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