Amid protests in the Twin Cities and nationwide following the killing of George Floyd, Minnesota governor Tim Walz revealed Sunday that he received a phone call from Jay-Z, who told the governor, “Justice needs to be served here.”
“I received a call last night – to understand how big this was – from Jay-Z. Not international performer but dad stressing to me that justice needs to be served,” Walz said (via CBS Minnesota). “It was so incredibly human… It was a dad, and I think quite honestly a black man whose visceral pain of this that he knew. His words summarized that justice needs to be served here.”
Walz added that CNN commentator and activist Van Jones connected the governor and the rapper, Fox 9 reported.
“[Jay-Z] said he feels the compassion and the humanity of these folks who are speaking,” Walz said. “He knows the world is watching, and how Minnesota handles this is going to have an impact across the country. It’s a positive sign that someone of a stature, that has a presence like that, is focused in the moment of what Minnesotans are focused on.”
On Sunday, Walz announced that the state’s attorney general Keith Ellison will head up any prosecutions connected to Floyd’s death, taking over the case from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (per the Star Tribune). “There have been recent developments in the facts of the case where the help and expertise of the Attorney General would be valuable,” Freeman said.
“After our very earnest conversation, thank you to Governor Walz for doing what’s right and calling in Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the George Floyd case,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “Earlier today, Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me – a dad and a black man in pain. YES, I am human, a father and a black man in pain and I am not the only one. Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law. This is just a first step. I am more determined to fight for justice than any fight my would-be oppressors may have.
“I prevail on every politician, prosecutor and officer in the country to have the courage to do what is right,” he added. “Have the courage to look at us as humans, dads, brothers, sisters and mothers in pain and look at yourselves.”
On Saturday, Beyonce posted a video on Instagram demanding that justice be served in the killing of Floyd. While four police officers were fired following Floyd’s death, only one has actually been charged; Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Walz admitted in his Sunday press conference that he considers Floyd’s death a “murder,” and that he would like to see charges filed against the other three officers.