STILLWATER, Minn. — Imran Ali was Washington County's top criminal prosecutor - the lead on the Kim Potter case, the officer charged with manslaughter for killing Daunte Wright.
After the Attorney General's Office took over the case, Ali quit his job altogether.
"It became readily apparent that in order for me to continue my work as a prosecutor or minister of justice, there were too many outside influences that were affecting that. And ultimately I decided I had to walk away," Ali said.
In his words, activists spreading misinformation about the evidence and the law, civil attorneys whose motivations he questions, and political leaders who didn't have his back all played a role in Ali's decision.
"It's not just this case. It's the erosion of justice. And I had a front-row seat for it," Ali said.
The former assistant county attorney said he is not upset that Attorney General Keith Ellison's office took over the Potter case.
It's what led up to the case changing hands that bothered Ali.
Protesters demonstrated multiple times outside the home of Ali's boss, County Attorney Pete Orput. Ali said he received nonstop vitriol and hate messages from people who wanted him to upgrade the charges to murder.
"It was intimidation. And there should be no intimidation when it comes to the pursuit of justice," Ali said.
Ali would not comment on the facts and evidence in the Potter case, which is set for trial in December.
But when asked whether higher charges are appropriate and whether he purposely charged the case at a lower level than it should have been, Ali said, "If I sign a criminal complaint, and I did. And I issue charges, then I stand by that."
Civil attorneys including Ben Crump represent the family of Daunte Wright. Those attorneys had meetings with Ali and Orput and Ali thought they were all on the same page about the case.
"And then the very next day, saying the exact opposite? That's disingenuous to me," Ali said, clarifying that he is referring to comments made by those attorneys in public press conferences.
Once seen as the heir apparent to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, Ali now has taken a new job with law firm Eckberg Lammers, where he will be training police officers.
"They need to be trained by the right people," Ali said.