Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The George Floyd Incident in Minneapolis

Being a retired law enforcement agent (DEA) I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to police when they are involved in controversial incidents resulting in loss of life or injury to others.

Having said that, I found it hard to envision any scenario in which the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by police in Minneapolis could be considered justified. The video of the incident, captured by  by-standers is pretty conclusive. It is true that the video starts rolling after the suspect is already on the ground with the knee of the police officer already on his neck. What is not seen in the above video are the moments just prior when the police approach the suspect, who is sitting in a car apparently under the influence of some sort of drug. What is not seen in the above video is how the man was taken out of the car and what resistance he may have offered. That would have given a better picture of the incident. Now, just-released video reportedly shows Floyd being removed from the car. He is arguing and seems to be physically resisting to some degree.

Here is another video from CBS news showing Floyd being taken from his car to the sidewalk in handcuffs.

Another video, via CCTV, showed Mr Floyd's arrest: CBS News / @sn00pdad

The above CBS photo shows police leading Floyd from the sidewalk to a police car. Here is video of that segment. It ends as they disappear from the camera's range.  At that point, things appear calm. Once they reached the street, something happened which led to Floyd being pinned to the street. Thus far, I have seen no video of that event.

We all remember the Rodney King-LAPD video in which the tape begins with King on the ground and being repeatedly beaten by officers with nightsticks. What was not seen was how King was throwing the cops around before being subdued. That said, my reaction to that was that once King stopped fighting, he should have been handcuffed and taken away. Was there anger and adrenaline involved on  the part of the officers after being involved in a high speed chase and fierce physical resistance by King? Of course, but the law demands that the anger and adrenaline be turned off once resistance stops.

In the Minneapolis incident, there may have been anger and adrenaline brought on by this man's reported resistance, but it is hard to watch the video and not conclude that though the situation was tense with angry by-standers on hand, the resistance had ceased, the man was handcuffed and should have been taken away.

Last night, there was a large protest in front of the local police headquarters, which got out of hand. I find it irresponsible that the mayor of Minneapolis reportedly encouraged the public to descend on the station to protest. Hopefully, the situation will calm down and we won't have any Fergusons (Missouri). Four officers have been fired and the FBI has stepped in. We must give the judicial system a chance to work here. My sense is that it will.

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