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Requests from other prosecutors inspired Keith Ellison's book on Chauvin trial

Talking Points: Attorney General Keith Ellison pens book about Chauvin trial
Talking Points: Attorney General Keith Ellison pens book about Chauvin trial 02:20

MINNEAPOLIS -- Three years ago at this time the Twin Cities was overwhelmed by protests that turned violent.

It was all in the aftermath of George Floyd's death at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers

That painful time and the ensuing trial of Derek Chauvin is captured in a new book out this week by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison called "Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence."

The summer of 2020 was a very hard and some might say dark time in the Twin Cities. The murder of Floyd, the riots, and then the very uncertain road to justice for the four officers charged in the case all played out against the backdrop of a pandemic that was paralyzing at times. 

In his new book, Ellison writes about the high-stakes prosecution of former police officer Chauvin, the officer who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. The book details how Ellison and his team put together the prosecution and worried about getting a conviction against Chauvin. They used mock juries, including one made up of jurors from Stearns County, to prepare for the real possibility that the trial could be moved out of Hennepin County.   

Interview: AG Keith Ellison releases book on Derek Chauvin trial 06:28

Ellison, who is normally upbeat about his legal cases, writes how his heart was pounding as he waited for the verdict. Ellison was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning at 10:30 a.m.

"One of the reasons I wrote the book is because we did get a lot of calls from various jurisdictions and prosecution offices are like, 'We're going through this, can you take a little time with us?' and I'm like absolutely," he said. "So this book, I hope, helps folks."

In the end, Chauvin was convicted of all counts, including second-degree murder. The three other officers were also convicted. The attorney general and his book are already being sought out by other prosecutors handling police abuse cases. Among the calls Ellison has received is the prosecutor handling the case against the officers accused in the fatal beating in Memphis last year of Tyre Nichols. 

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Joseph Dames every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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