Police chiefs across the U.S., many of whom have pushed officers to de-escalate tense situations and decrease use of force, responded with disgust to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and moved to reassure their communities that they would not tolerate such brutality, the Washington Post reports. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired four officers within 24 hours, and the heads of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association denounced the prolonged suffocation of Floyd captured on cellphone video and streamed around the world. “The death of Mr. Floyd is deeply disturbing and should be of concern to all Americans,” said the Major Cities Chiefs, headed by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Steven Casstevens, head of the IACP and chief of the Buffalo Grove, Il., department, said, “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.” Floyd was taken into custody after trying to pass a counterfeit bill in a business. He was held down on the street with an officer’s knee on his neck. The officers involved were identified as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. For police officials who have been moving to improve community relations, it was a sobering setback. “There’ll be a tendency for people to look at that horrible video and say, ‘Nothing has changed,’ ” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. “And that is so wrong. So much has changed in policing.” He added, “Watching this video makes every decent working cop sick.”