Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
John McWhorter and Keith Ellison – Prosecuting Derek Chauvin

John McWhorter and Keith Ellison – Prosecuting Derek Chauvin


After John and I discussed the documentary The Fall of Minneapolis late last year, we heard from one of the major players in the case against Derek Chauvin and the other officers involved: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. He insisted that the film distorted the facts and cast doubt on verdicts that were, he argued, rightly decided. After some back and forth, he, John, and I decided we had a lot to talk about, including Keith’s new book, Breaking the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence.

Our conversation runs the gamut from a discussion of the death of George Floyd to our initial response to the documentary to our revised response in light of Radley Balko’s series of articles attempting to debunk the documentary. John asks Keith why he seems more motivated to prosecute cops than black criminals whose crimes are just as bad, and Keith pushes back. Keith offers arguments about the historical antecedents to present-day troubled black communities—John and I offer some pushback ourselves. We do find some areas of agreement: most cops are doing a good job, the burning of Minneapolis’s 3rd precinct was horrifying, “defund the police” is “dumb” (Keith’s word!). We wrap up the conversation on a note of comity.

As Keith says at the end, it’s important that we can have conversations like this, where parties who disagree can nevertheless come together for a civil debate. Trust that you’ll be seeing more of them here at TGS.

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0:00 Why Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison wanted to come on TGS

4:42 Keith’s defense of the George Floyd trials’ verdicts

9:54 John: We weren’t wrong to ask the questions we asked, even if our answers came up short at first

13:00: Keith: Liz Collin doesn’t seem to believe that police misconduct actually exists

16:40 How Keith accounts for racial disparities in criminal behavior

21:36 The emotional dimension of prosecution

27:15 Keith’s argument for integration and against charter schools

35:19 The redlining debate

40:00 The burning of Minneapolis’s 3rd Precinct

44:45 Keith: “‘Defund the police’ is dumb”

46:38 What’s causing low police morale?

50:25 Keith’s argument for a two-state solution and re-electing Biden

55:41 Keith: Glenn and John play an important role in political discourse today

Recorded March 30, 2024

Links and Readings

Keith Ellison’s book, Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence

Glenn and John’s first conversation about The Fall of Minneapolis

Glenn and John talk to Fall of Minneapolis filmmakers Liz Collin and JC Chaix

Glenn and John talk George Floyd after Radley Balko’s first post on the documentary

Radley Balko’s Substack post, “The Retconning of George Floyd, Part One”

Radley Balko’s Substack post, “The Retconning of George Floyd, Part Two”

Radley Balko’s Substack post, “The Retconning of George Floyd, Part Three”

Radley Balko’s response to Coleman Hughes

Alpha News

Rucker Johnson’s working paper, “Long-Run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments”

John’s NYT piece, “What’s Missing from the Conversation about Systemic Racism”

Equal Justice Initiative website


Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
Race, inequality, and economics in the US and throughout the world from Glenn Loury, Professor of Economics at Brown University and Paulson Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute