‘He was born for this’ -- Brother of Minnesota AG discusses family’s upbringing in Detroit

‘I just wish my mom, who passed about a year ago from COVID, I wish she was alive to see this,’

Brother of Minnesota attorney general talk about Derek Chauvin case, family upbringing in Detroit

MINNEAPOLIS – On Tuesday, Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

The verdict came down after the jury deliberated for about 10 hours.

Floyd was murdered last May after Chauvin, a 45-year-old now-fired white police officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes.

READ: Floyd verdict sparks hope, inspiration for activists abroad

The lead attorney on the case was Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who was born and raised with his four brothers in Detroit.

“Since the investigation and prosecution began last May, everyone involved pursued one goal: justice,” Ellison said about the case.

His family still lives in the area and Local 4′s Rhonda Walker caught up with one of his brothers to talk about why he believes Keith was primed his entire life to take on the case the world was watching.

“I could not be more happy and proud. He was born for this moment since he was a kid he has been an advocate and champion for issues of justice and righteousness,” said Church of the New Covenant Pastor Brian Ellison. “His life path was set from a very early age.”

Brian Ellison said the family’s upbringing in Detroit influenced and inspired his brother.

“Growing up on Detroit’s northwest side in that little Livernois/Seven Mile corridor, my parents would discuss social issues with us at the kitchen table,” Brian Ellison recalled. “It was just as normal as anything and we grew up knowing things that I’m sure most families didn’t even discuss.”

Those conversations gave insight into the Minnesota Attorney General. Keith Ellison was the middle child of five -- four became lawyers and one became a doctor.

“I think everybody was a little on edge except Keith. He had 12 years in congress ,16 years as a criminal defense attorney, He was a cool customer. I got nervous, my church got nervous, brothers got nervous but Keith was always cool,” Brian Ellison said. “I think he had confidence in his decades of experience. He told me he was focused on building his legal team, his dream team. That is definitely his team and he is the choreographer of events of that entire legal process.

Keith Ellison became Minnesota’s Attorney General in January 2019, more than a year before George Floyd was killed.

“There has never been a non-white person to win statewide office in Minnesota but he had the confidence and the vision to be the first,” Brian Ellison said. “He was the right guy and don’t forget the family and many local and state politicians had to advocate for the AG to take the case. That was the voice of the people that wanted him.”

More: Derek Chauvin convicted of George Floyd’s murder: What happens next?

About the Authors:

Rhonda Walker has been helping Detroiters get motivated and ready for the day for the past 22 years. A confessed morning person, this award winning talented and versatile journalist starts her day at 2:00 am to co-anchor the weekday morning newscast at WDIV-Local 4 News. A position she’s held since 2003.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.