Updated: Jun 7
Born: October 14, 1973
Murdered: May 25, 2020
[Image, by Color of Change, used for educational purposes]
National Conference of Black Lawyers
2472 Broadway #204
New York, NY 10025
AN OPEN LETTER TO ATTORNEY KEITH ELLISON
REGARDING THE DEREK CHAUVIN MURDER TRIAL & VERDICT
APRIL 24, 2021
ADJOA A. AIYETORO
13716 New Hampshire Avenue, #227
Silver Spring, MD 20904
April 24, 2021
The Honorable Keith Ellison
Minnesota Attorney General
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
Congratulations on your success in the hard-fought and well designed and implemented prosecution of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Your commitment to ending police crimes, including physical violence and murder, against Black people, has been consistent since you became an attorney.
I describe this commitment as one to ending the legacy of slavery – a legacy that includes rampant and unfettered violence against Black people. It is reflected in your lawyering and your work in Minnesota, including your early involvement and leadership in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of the National Conference of Black Lawyers.
The guilty verdicts on all charges brought against Chauvin are a testament to your accurate charging of Chauvin, refusing to settle on the original charges brought by the county prosecutor which were inconsistent with the video evidence we saw in social media feeds and that your team presented as evidence in the trial.
It was also a result of your refusal to continue the travesty of justice engaged in by most prosecutors across the country who at best respond to police murders of Black people with a slap on the wrist and at worse deny the actions of the police violate the law. This usual response by state prosecutors continues the legal devaluation of Black lives.
You and your team prosecuted this case with integrity and skill, refusing to fall into the historic trap of devaluing human life.
I am proud to know you.
I am proud to see the correct application of the law that uplifted the humanity of George Floyd, and therefore, the humanity of us all.
Your prosecution of this case demonstrates how the law should be practiced and applied if we have any chance of balancing the scales of justice.
Adjoa A. Aiyetoro
Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas
William H. Bowen School of Law
Former Executive Director
National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL)
Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, J.D. Professor of Law Emerita
UALR William H. Bowen School of Law
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