COLORADO, USA — Local law enforcement agencies have released statements condemning the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The death, shown in a video widely circulated on social media, showed a Minneapolis police officer standing on Floyd’s neck while he was heard saying “I can’t breathe.”
That officer and others at the scene have all been fired, and on Friday, Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety Commissioner John Mark Harrington announced one former officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested in connection with Floyd's death.
Floyd's death sparked protests in Denver that began Thursday night and have continued into Friday. Thursday's protests turned violent, with video showing vandalism, graffiti, tear gas and more.
> VIDEO above: Raw footage of Thursday night's protests.
Below is a list of statements from local law enforcement groups.
Denver Police Department
"[DPD] sends our condolences to the family of George Floyd. The actions and type of force used by the Minneapolis police officers in the video are inexcusable and contrary to how we train our officers. Treating those we serve with respect is of the utmost importance to me as chief and those who make up [DPD]. [DPD] values the sanctity of life and is committed to respecting and protecting the dignity, safety and rights of our community members. Recognizing that our practice needed to be put into police, in 2019, DPD implemented a revised use of force police that includes community input, which increases officer accountability while emphasizing de-escalation tactics to reduce the need of force."
County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police
"Our organizations are appalled by the indefensible use of force and lack of intervention by other officers on the scene that led to George Floyd's death. These officers must be held legally accountable for their actions, and inactions, that were inconsistent with any legitimate training and procedures of our profession. Incidents like this undermine efforts of law enforcement everywhere to build community trust with those we have sworn to serve and protect."
The County Sheriffs of Colorado is an association that provides education and professional assistance and promotes unity to enable sheriffs to best serve and protect the people of Colorado.
The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police is a professional organization committed to serving the law enforcement community and the citizens of Colorado.
Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County
Fort Collins Police Services Chief Jeff Swoboda said "[the] actions captured on video appeared to defy the training FCPS officers receive for use of force."
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith agreed, saying, “There’s nobody in this profession that doesn’t look at that and go, ‘Oh my god, what in the hell is going on?’”
“It’s hard to watch on a human level,” Swoboda said. “And it’s hard to watch as a police chief and think about, ‘What is the training that is offered there that he would think this move is OK?’ And then for other officers to be more concerned about a crowd videotaping and not turning around and saying, ‘I’m hearing him say he can’t breathe. Let’s let him breathe.’”
Attorney General Phil Weiser
"The last few weeks have again provided a window into what it means to be a person of color in America. The pain, frustration, and anger that many people feel from George Floyd’s death is understandable and justified. We are once again mourning the death of a young African-American man who died at the hands of the police. Hearing his story and mourning his loss should inspire us to come together, to do better.
"Our challenge now is how to both process and channel our emotions as we move forward. The path for making George Floyd’s memory a call to reform and renewal is through listening to each other and caring for one another, while advocating for change and engaging in peaceful protest. Together, this work can be done with the goal of improving our communities, our cities, and each other, rather than causing harm, injury, or greater loss.
"Dr. Martin Luther King said: 'An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' This teaching remains a clarion call to all of us. As Coloradans, we must come together and resolve to do better. We can and will achieve change, leading to healing and justice for all."
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