Transcript for Minnesota AG explains new charges against all 4 officers
Let's bring in the attorney general of Minnesota Keith Ellison right now. Thanks for joining us again this morning. We showed you saying you believe the evidence supports the charge for second degree murder. The defense is likely to argue chauvin did not intend to kill George Floyd. Can you prove intent to kill? Under Minnesota law do you have to? That is not one of the requirements of second degree murder, felony murder. The requirement is that he intended to commit an assault and that assault resulted in the death of George Floyd. So that is not one of the elements of that particular charge. The Floyd family attorney as you know is urging you to continue the investigation and bring charges of first degree murder. Are you open to that? We will charge anything that the facts in the law allow. There is -- we are not showing fear or favor to any person. If the facts show premeditation and deliberation and we can present that in front of a jury in good faith we absolutely will charge that particular count. As of right now you have no evidence of premeditation? I wouldn't want to comment on what I have or don't have. We've charged the highest ethical charge that we feel we can at this point. The official autopsy report says that Floyd had some pre-existing condition, heart disease, hypertension, also fentanyl and other intox can'ts in his system. How much of a challenge does that pose to your case? Well, you take your victim as you find them. You can't say that, well, the person who I victimized was not in the very perfect picture of health so it's their fault that they died at my hands. You take your victim as you find them, and I believe that that is a factor that should not weigh, but the fact is is that you never know. Those kind of things are things that some defense attorneys are going to try to turn into. We don't think that those -- that that matters in terms of proximate cause, that both of the medical examiner reports we've seen indicate homicide, death at the hands of another. So that is what we think is what matters most. The three other officers charged, what do you have to prove to win those cases? That they helped. That they helped and if you can look at the tape and see who is sitting where and see the assistance that was given, important assistance to what chauvin was doing so we believe -- we can also see what was not done. That even despite the pleas and the cries there was no assistance rendered. So we believe that they were culpable, they assisted in the commission of this offense and that is why we charged them. From the beginning you have consistently laid out a note of caution saying these cases are notoriously difficult to win. Are you confident you can get convictions here? Yes, absolutely, we are confident we can do this but we understand the challenge in front of us which is why we're working extra hard. And finally this comes at a time where the whole country is rocked by the issues of systemic problems with policing across the country. The Minneapolis police department is under investigation. You've chaired a task force on deadly police force. What's the most important thing the country can do right now to address the systemic problem? Well, to meet in local communities to talk about the kind of policing that they want. President Obama had the 21st century policing task force where they generated a lot of ideas from both law enforcement and community into how we could reshape and redesign policing. We in Minnesota did the same thing as you mentioned, the working group that myself and commissioner Harington led but we need that happening in all 50 states and seven territories and even more granular than that at the municipal level we need police, community, faith community, art community, everyone sitting down saying, how can we have a more just, more fair society? This is a social change moment and this prosecution is essential to achieving that justice, but it is not enough to achieve all the justice and address all the hurt and pain that people have experienced so we're urging people to continue this work and if I may say so, George, even beyond policing, I mean, some of these problems have to do with, you know, inadequate housing, poverty and racist attitudes that Americans share who are not even in the police department so all that work needs to be dong. This is a good time to do it. Attorney general Keith Ellison, thanks for your time
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