‘Swift action’ promised: Walz, state leaders address investigations following death of George Floyd

Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz and other state leaders addressed the investigations underway following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd was pronounced dead Monday night after he was taken into custody by police in south Minneapolis.

At the start of what is typically the daily briefing on the status of COVID-19 in Minnesota, state leaders extended their condolences to Floyd’s family.

Walz said watching both the video circulating online, which captured part of the incident, as well as seeing protesters gathering Tuesday and Wednesday, that he "share(s) the urge for a primal scream after watching humanity get erased in front of you."

"I not only see you, I hear you and I stand with you," Walz said, adding that Floyd’s family "deserves justice."

Walz said he is working with local leaders, who have promised "swift action" in the investigations.

"I will work with them to ensure that’s exactly what happens," Walz said.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan shared her expectations as well, stating, "We will get answers and we will seek justice." Flanagan added no one should be treated differently, or fear for their safety, due to the color of their skin.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said there is a need for the investigations to proceed with a degree of objectivity.

"We want nobody to be able to question the process," Ellison said about the pending results of the case, adding that the outcomes of the investigations "will be just, they will be fair, they will be what the law requires."

Ellison circled back to a report of recommendations his office released in February for law enforcement and community relations.

"We’ve got to have permanent, deep, systemic change," Ellison said.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said one way to ensure the expedition of the investigations is for witnesses to come forward.

Harrington asked witnesses to contact the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, stating the "sooner we can get witnesses and statements, the sooner we can move this along."

In addressing recent protests, state leaders urged safety and caution.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the current pandemic poses risks to protesters and can increase community spread of the virus. She, along with other state leaders, asked protesters to be careful and mindful of health guidelines, including wearing face coverings and social distancing.

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