Yesterday after the guilty verdicts in the George Floyd murder case, I, along with hundreds of other elected officials around the country, responded on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s what I said:
Today, I want to share a few more thoughts. First, I’d like you to join me in singing the praises of teenager Darnella Frazier. Without her presence of mind to record that excruciating nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds scene of the George Floyd murder, this would likely have been another “he saw this/she saw that,” and we would not be celebrating this righteous result today.
I would also like to call out my wonderful colleague, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who was asked to take over the prosecution of this case by Governor Walz last June. Keith assembled the “A-Team” that prosecuted the case, and they brought it home. If you got to watch his statement after the verdicts were in, it was not about him — but all about the Floyd family and his incredible team. Keith is truly the People’s Attorney for Minnesota, and yesterday — for the country! Thank you, AG Ellison!
In my earlier lives, before being elected Oregon’s Attorney General, I was a criminal defense lawyer, a federal prosecutor, and a trial and appellate court judge. So I know how difficult it is to obtain a conviction in a case like this. And if you’d read the initial police report, you’d have thought nothing was amiss in the conduct of the officers on the scene outside the Cup Foods convenience store in Minneapolis where George Floyd was arrested on a minor charge -- and then killed. But for that horrifying video and the remarkable prosecution team, Derek Chauvin might still be policing the streets of Minneapolis today.
At this time, let us also honor the friends and family of George Floyd and hope, as his young daughter so wisely said, he really did change the world. But we know the outcome of this case, while something to celebrate, is only a baby step toward police accountability and real justice. We have so much still to do to claim America’s promise.I write this knowing your hearts and minds — and those of our leaders — are in the right place. All of us now have our work cut out for us.
Thank you for caring so deeply about this case and for fairness and justice for everyone in our state and country. Now is a time for healing and moving forward with reforms that will truly make a difference and with doing the hard work to transform systems that have been based on institutional racism and injustice.
In closing, let’s keep in mind that nobody is above the law — or beneath it.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum