Two major police chief groups denounced, to varying degrees, the killing of George Floyd Wednesday, and applauded the firing of the four Minneapolis Police Department officers who participated.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association, an organization of executives from the biggest cities in the United States and Canada, issued a release calling the killing “deeply disturbing.”
Calling the officers’ actions “inconsistent” with the protocols of the profession, the group commended Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for axing the officers involved.
“MCCA members have worked tirelessly to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” the statement said. “What occurred in Minneapolis is a sobering reminder of how quickly bad policing can undermine that trust. The law enforcement community must do better and hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the world’s largest professional association of police leaders, offered a milder criticism, saying that there must be accountability after use-of-force situations.
“Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect. This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy,” the group said. “That is why incidents involving the use-of-force are never the desired outcome in any given situation; moreover, it is the responsibility of police leaders to hold officers accountable for incidents when use-of-force is not aligned with agency policy or appropriate to the given circumstance.”
The group couched the denunciation, though, in a call for a full investigation during which “all circumstances” are weighed and the assertion that videos may not tell the full story.
Floyd died Monday after Officer Derek Chauvin handcuffed him outside a grocery store where employees had called about a counterfeit bill. In video taken by a bystander, Chauvin kneels on Floyd’s neck while he says he cannot breathe.
When Chauvin removes his knee after several minutes, Floyd is unresponsive. He was pronounced dead soon after.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has called for Chauvin to be charged.
“I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey said Wednesday. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that.”
Riots have broken out across the city of Minneapolis, with reports of property damage, fires and looting.