Minnesota AG Keith Ellison Says He Wouldn’t Call Guilty Verdict ‘Justice,’ But Rather ‘Accountability’

After a jury found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) said that he doesn’t consider the verdict “justice” but rather “accountability.”

“I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step toward justice,” said Ellison, who called for systemic change, reports Axios. Ellison also said any people who decide to honor Floyd’s legacy, such as through demonstrations, should do it “calmly, and legally and peacefully.”

“I urge everyone to continue the journey to transformation and justice. It’s in your hands now,” he said.

“We need to use this verdict as an inflection point,” Ellison said. “What if we just prevented the problem instead of having to try these cases. We don’t want anymore community members dying at the hands of law enforcement and their families lives ruined. We don’t want anymore law enforcement members having to face criminal charges and their families lives ruined. We don’t want anymore communities torn apart.”

Ellison suggested ways to prevent such negative outcomes, including re-examining “the use of force and our old subtle assumptions,” by “acknowledging and lifting  up everyone’s humanity,” and maintaining accountability for officers who violate laws and policies.

“This verdict demands us to never give up the hope that we can make enduring change,” said Ellison. “Generations of people said slavery would never end, generations said Jim Crow would never end, generations said women would never be equal to men.”

Ellison also said officers deserve to work in departments “where they don’t have to worry about colleagues who don’t follow the rules,” and proclaimed that “the work of our generation is to put an end to the vestiges of Jim Crow and the centuries of trauma, and finally put an end to racism.”

Chauvin was found guilty on three counts, including second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, nearly a year after video of his last moments prompted national unrest and riots. Closing arguments in the case concluded Monday — when the jury was briefly sequestered — and the verdict was reached late Tuesday. Chauvin’s bail has been revoked, and the judge expects him to be sentenced in roughly eight weeks. 

The verdict has been met with swift reaction from politicians, including former President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more,” said Obama. “Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.”

“Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice, for being there to call out to your mom,” said Pelosi in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “How heartbreaking was that, call out for your mom, I can’t breathe, but because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice.”

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), whose policing bill was blocked by Democrats last year, said that he believed the jury reached the correct decision.

“While this outcome should give us renewed confidence in the integrity of our justice system, we know there is more work to be done to ensure the bad apples do not define all officers—the vast majority of whom put on the uniform each day with integrity and servant hearts,” said Scott.  “We must all come together to help repair the tenuous relationship between law enforcement and Black and minority Americans.”

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