Created: June 06, 2021 11:34 PM
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is seeing his office change, slightly, as it gains more national attention in prosecuting police officers.
Ellison’s office landed a conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd and is pursuing charges against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. But the attorney general’s office hasn’t really prosecuted police officers in the past. Instead, it has focused on homicides from rural counties that are unable to take on bigger cases.
“We have always had – and very proud – of our criminal prosecutors who are available, usually, to rural counties,” Ellison said this week on “At Issue.” “In more recent times, we’ve been called upon by more urban areas. But we stand ready to help our counties; we see justice as matter of a partnership and we’re standing firm with them.”
Prosecuting police officers also has extraordinary political implications. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who initially charged Potter with second-degree manslaughter, returned the case to Hennepin County, where attorney Mike Freeman gave it to Ellison’s office.
Asked if he was feeling political pressure to increase Potter’s charge from second-degree manslaughter to something more, Ellison said, “No, I’m not feeling any pressure. We’re going to do our job. We’re going to do our duty.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders are just 24 days from a state government shutdown and have missed all of their constitutional and self-imposed deadlines for passing budget bills. Lawmakers are expected to return for a special session on June 14, but they have their work cut out for them: Only three of 14 budget bills have been publicly posted – and only one of those have policy provisions attached.
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