Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said during an interview Sunday morning that he believes African Americans in Minneapolis have reason to distrust and fear their local police.
“Sadly, yes. There is a history that has been repeated time and time again. I want to say that many officers are great people. I know so many of them and I think the chief is an extraordinary person, and the mayor and the council deserve a lot of credit for appointing Mr. Arradondo, but it is an endemic problem in the Minneapolis Police Department,” Ellison said on Fox News Sunday.
He criticized Bob Kroll, the polarizing figure at the helm of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, for “operating as a sort of alternative chief” and undermining “good order in the department.”
“The violence really is a negative thing,” said Ellison, who on Friday quoted Martin Luther King’s comment that riots are the “language of the unheard.”
“I think what Martin Luther King was trying to say is rather than simply dismiss the outrage and the rage that people express after decades, really actually centuries, of state-sponsored oppression for African Americans, let’s look at the roots of that rage and try to address it rather than just pound it down with massive force,” Ellison said.
He noted that people “are upset for a reason, and to dismiss those reasons means we’re going to be relegated to deal with them again and again and again.”
The attorney general faced backlash after he suggested during a Friday press conference that protesters should treat the Minnesota National Guard differently than the Minneapolis Police Department.
“Please remember that this is not the group that you associate with unfair authority,” Ellison said of the National Guard.
Later in his Fox News interview, Ellison was asked whether he is comfortable with the charge of third-degree murder against former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, since the charge implies Chauvin didn’t intend to kill George Floyd.
“Let me say that we are very early in this process, very early. It is not uncommon to amend charges. It is not uncommon to add defendants,” said Ellison. “I don’t want anyone to conclude that these are all the charges that are going to be there. You know, to ask people to be patient who have suffered so long and been denied justice so long is really asking a lot of them.”
“These cases, which look so obvious to us watching videotape, you get them into trial with some really good lawyers, and things can go in a very different direction,” he added. “So let’s get this thing right.”
Watch the full interview below:
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