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THE lead prosecutor in the Derek Chauvin trial has admitted he “felt a little bad” for ex-Minneapolis cop following his conviction for the murder of George Floyd.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he didn’t want to lose sight of the humanity of Chauvin, the 45-year-old white cop found guilty by a jury of killing 46-year-old Floyd.
“Gratitude — humility — followed by a certain sense of, I’ll say satisfaction,” he told Scott Pelley on CBS “60 Minutes,” claiming it was what they were hoping.
“I spent 16 years as a criminal defense lawyer. . So, I will admit, I felt a little bad for the defendant.
“I think he deserved to be convicted. But he's a human being.”
Ellison made it clear that, in acknowledging Chauvin's humanity, he was not “in any way wavering from my responsibility” as attorney general.
“But I hope we never forget that people who are defendants in our criminal justice system, that they're human beings. They're people.
“I mean, George Floyd was a human being. And so I'm not going to ever forget that everybody in this process is a person."
Ellison took over as the state's attorney general in 2019 after 8 years serving in Washington D.C. as a representative in Congress.
He was designated by Minnesota’s governor to shepherd over 14 attorneys to prove that Chauvin committed murder when he leaned on Floyd's neck with his knee for nine minutes and 29 seconds in broad daylight outside of a convenience store on May 25.
When it came to diagnosing Chauvin’s motive to imply the force he used against Floyd, Ellison didn’t believe there was enough evidence to secure a hate crime conviction in Floyd's murder.
“I wouldn’t call it that because hate crimes are crimes where there’s an explicit motive and of bias,” he said.
“We don’t have any evidence that Derek Chauvin factored in George Floyd’s race as he did what he did.”
Pelley asked him why he didn’t charge Chauvin for committing a hate crime.
“Could have,” Ellison said. “But we only charge those crimes that we had evidence that we could put in front of a jury to prove.
“If we'd had a witness that told us that Derek Chauvin made a racial reference, we might have charged him with a hate crime.
"But I would have needed a witness to say that on the stand.
“We didn't have it. So we didn't do it.”
But Ellison is concerned that there exists a disturbing paradigm in US society; a “social norm that killing certain kinds of people is more tolerable than other kinds of people.”
Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16.
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