Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison Says Black People In His State Have Reason To Fear Police

Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) addresses a rally against Trump Administration education funding cuts outside the U.S. Capitol July 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Keith Ellison, the Attorney General of Minnesota, appeared on Fox News Sunday morning and said that black people in Minnesota have reason to fear and be distrustful of the police.

“There is a history that has been repeated time and time again,” he said.

“I want to say that many officers are great people. I know so many of them and I think the chief is an extraordinary person, and the mayor and the council deserve a lot of credit for appointing Mr. [Medaria] Arradondo. But it is an endemic problem in the Minneapolis Police Department.”

Ellison went on to say that he believes there’s a divide in the leadership of the Minneapolis Police Department that leads to a lot of issues, according to Fox News. Ellison pointed the finger at Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll, saying that he often undercuts the positive actions that the Minneapolis Police Department tries to take.

The attorney general also told Fox News that he supported protesters who were demonstrating against police brutality around the state. He acknowledged that protesters were acting out of understandable fear and anger at police. Ellison’s comments about justified fear of the police come after he faced backlash for telling protesters to treat the National Guard differently than they did the police.

However, Ellison clarified that he didn’t support the violent actions being taken by protesters in Minnesota and other cities around the country, Fox News reported. On Friday, Ellison quoted the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., saying that riots are the way that people who feel unheard get heard. These comments were taken by many to mean that he supported the violence taking place at protests throughout the country. Ellison emphasized that he did not support violence, but he went on to say he understood why people were being violent. He posited that angry protesters were turning to violence because they felt their peaceful protests had not had any impact.

When asked about the violent protesters in Minneapolis, Ellison said that he had solid evidence that at least some of the people inciting violence were from out of state. He also acknowledged that some of the violent protesters were Minnesotans. He stressed that Minnesota law enforcement was still talking to people they arrested to get a full picture of how the protests turned violent.

“Some of the negative stuff has come from people in Minnesota and some of it has come from people on the outside… What we really need to do is refocus on justice for Mr. Floyd. And the negative behavior, looting, arson, does not help us achieve that goal.”

Protests against police brutality started in Minneapolis on Tuesday, the day after George Floyd was killed during an incident with Minneapolis police. Protests in Minneapolis became violent on Wednesday night and have continued to be violent through the weekend.