George Floyd, a black 46-year-old man, died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. Outside a shop where police were called to investigate someone allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit bill, a white officer pinned Floyd’s neck against the ground with his knee for at least seven minutes as bystanders pleaded for the officer to stop and while Floyd uttered, “I can’t breathe.” After the first few minutes, Floyd lost consciousness. Minutes later, when paramedics arrived, the officer removed his knee, and Floyd’s limp body was taken away.
The incident was filmed and widely shared online, drawing public outrage. The officer who pinned Floyd’s neck was fired the next day, as were the three other officers on the scene. The FBI has launched an investigation of the incident. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Floyd’s family have called for charges to be filed against the four former Minneapolis Police Dept. officers.
By the next day, protesters took to the spot of Floyd’s death to publicly condemn the incident, and protests continue today.
Zionsville Police Chief Michael Spears today released a statement regarding the George Floyd incident.
“Police work can be hazardous,” Spears stated. “Officers sometimes face dangerous situations and encounter persons who may attempt to cause harm or resist arrest. While no officer wants to use force, it is sometimes necessary. This force, however, must be reasonable and end once a person has been restrained. Everyone, even those who resist arrest, have a right to respectful, humane treatment from our police officers.
“The in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis should not have happened. The video of this incident is difficult to watch. It is not reflective of the training of professional police officers. The actions of these officers significantly erode public trust and cannot be tolerated. Incidents like this eclipse the overwhelmingly good work of our police officers which is so deserving of praise.
“The Zionsville Police Department and I are committed to the protection and safety of all persons. Officers receive training in the proper use of force and how to render medical assistance. We will not tolerate any excessive or unnecessary use of force.
“Our police department is in the process of facilitating a community discussion to examine issues like diversity, inclusion, implicit bias and police-community relations. Persons interested in participating in these discussions are encouraged to contact (ZPD) Detective Elizabeth Frost atEfrost@Zionsville-in.gov.”