Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison made the comments while appearing on CBS’ 60 Minutes.
He said: “I will admit, I felt a little bad for the defendant.
“I think he deserved to be convicted. But he’s a human being.”
He added: “I’m not in any way wavering from my responsibility. But I hope we never forget that people who are defendants in our criminal justice system, that they’re human beings. They’re people. I mean, George Floyd was a human being. And so I’m not going to ever forget that everybody in this process is a person.”
Chauvin was found guilty or second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter last week.
He is not facing a maximum term of 40 years in prison and a 12.5 years minimum.
He will be sentenced on June 16.
When Ellison was asked how long he think he should get, he said: “I think it is important for the court to not go light or heavy.
“I don’t know if it’s right for a judge to send a message through a sentence because the sentence should be tailored to the offense, tailored to the circumstances of the case.
“Look, the State never wanted revenge against Derek Chauvin. We just wanted accountability.”
The interview has been praised on Twitter, with one person writing: “Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota gave such an impressive interview on 60 minutes. I think it went a long way to model compassion, improve race relations, and help us love each other.”
Another added: “Just saw Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s attorney general on 60 minutes. Amazingly articulate and impactful piece!”
Featured image credit: CBS/Minnesota Department of Corrections.