'The first step towards justice': AG Keith Ellison calls for change after Chauvin conviction

Ellison's office led the prosecution of the former Minneapolis police officer.
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After his office led the prosecution of Derek Chauvin, culminating in a guilty verdict on all three counts in the death of George Floyd, Attorney General Keith Ellison called for a "transformation" of the relationship between police and civilians.

He referred to Tuesday's verdict as the result of "long, hard, painstaking work," but said: "I would not call today's verdict justice however, because justice provides true restoration.

"But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice."

He paid tribute to those who watched Floyd's death under the weight of four police officers, including Chauvin on his neck.

"George Floyd mattered, he was loved by his family and his friends, but that isn't why he mattered, he mattered because he was a human being, and there's no way we can turn away from that reality.

"The people who stopped and raised their voices on May 25, 2020, were a bouquet of humanity. Old, young, men and women, black, white, a man from the neighborhood just going to get a drink, a child getting a snack with her cousin ... brave young teenagers who pressed record on their cellphones.

"They stopped and raised their voices, and even challenged authority because they saw his humanity ... because they knew what they were seeing was wrong ... and they were right."

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More than anything, Ellison says Chauvin's conviction needs to become a springboard towards change, echoing ongoing calls for major structural change in law enforcement across the nation.

"Today we have to end this travesty of recurring enduring deaths at the hands of law enforcement Those beliefs are things we have to focus our attention on.

"The work of our generation is to put unaccountable law enforcement behind us. It's time to transform the relationship between community and the people who are sworn to protect them from one that is mistrustful, suspicious and in some case terrifying, to one that is empathetic, compassionate and affirming.

"That will benefit from everyone including police officers who deserve to serve in a profession that is honored."

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