This Prosecutor Pledged to Change George Floyd’s City. Her Critics Are Circling.

Mary Moriarty, a former public defender, became Minneapolis’s top prosecutor last year after persuading voters shaken by the murder of George Floyd that she could improve public safety by reining in police misconduct and making the criminal justice system less punitive.

Turbulence quickly followed. The attorney general of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a fellow Democrat who had endorsed Ms. Moriarty as she campaigned to be Hennepin County attorney, took over a murder case from her office last spring after concluding that it had offered an overly lenient plea deal to a juvenile defendant.

By fall, two judges took the unusual step of rejecting plea deals offered by Ms. Moriarty’s office, deeming them too permissive for violent crimes.

After Ms. Moriarty this year charged a state trooper with murder in the shooting of a motorist who drove away during a traffic stop, criticism mounted.

Several law enforcement officials questioned the strength of the evidence in the case and Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, as well as members of Congress from both parties, have voiced concern about the prosecution.

“Mary Moriarty has done one hugely positive thing,” said Chris Madel, a lawyer representing Ryan Londregan, the state trooper who awaits trial in the death of Ricky Cobb II. “She brought back bipartisanship to Minnesota in that people on both the left and the right agree she’s doing a terrible job.”

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