The National Black Police Association (NBPA) is revolted and dismayed at the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd while in the custody of officers of the Minneapolis Police Department, and specifically at the knees of Officer Derek Chauvin and under the watchful eyes of other officers. His death was unnecessary and grossly negligent. The question becomes the true intent of the officers, and the ongoing law enforcement conversation surrounding the preventable deaths of Black citizens, which is often an aspect of policing that goes unresolved in response to these deadly incidents.
On May 25, Minneapolis officers responded to a call for a suspected forgery. The police report says that Mr. Floyd was approached as he sat on top of a car and he “appeared to be under the influence.” They report that when asked to step from the car, Mr. Floyd physically resisted officers. They add that they were able to get him into handcuffs and that he appeared to be suffering from medical distress. Soon thereafter (as evidenced by video) Mr. Floyd lost consciousness and died, while Chauvin leaned on his neck with his knee, with his hands comfortably in his pockets.
As we now know from surveillance video, Mr. Floyd was in handcuffs as he was calmly walked over from the car and was seated nearby. There is video footage missing between that time and the time he ended up near a police car, with his head on the ground, and with Chauvin’s knee on his neck.
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis issued a statement, that included, “Now is not the time (to) rush to judgement and immediately condemn our officers.” Respectfully, no one can deny what was seen—that a man’s life was taken unnecessarily, and attempts to cite “training” and other common phrasing used after police-answerable deaths of Black citizens, does not relinquish the officers of responsibility or the criminal justice system of accountability.
We are pleased to know that Chief Medaria Arradondo took swift action in the firing of the four officers involved. We are pleased to know that the FBI is part of the investigation so quickly. We also expect appropriate charges, prosecution, and conviction for the killing of Mr. Floyd. However, true justice for Mr. Floyd and the Black community is long from done.
Let’s speak truths: In America, it is clear that the humanity of Black people appears invisible to law enforcement. What other explanation would there be for Chauvin to lean on the neck of a handcuffed Black man until he dies? Mr. Floyd’s cries that he could not breath, that the officers were going to kill him, and cries for his mother were heart-wrenching, yet went unanswered by any of the four officers. Armed White men are allowed to stand on the steps of government buildings and protest that their liberty is being stepped on, unchallenged by law enforcement. But, too often, when unarmed Black citizens are alleged to have committed minor violations, freedom is no longer at play, and the door opens for death at the very hands of those who should be protecting and serving.
The National Black Police Association calls on police chiefs and executives, and our partners in social justice and criminal justice reform to take heed and appropriate action now! Our power is in our collective missions. This is not a time to remain silent, nor is it a time to just give polite platitudes and statements that we are watching or continue to repeat that officers must be held accountable. We already know that. What are we going to do about law enforcement abuses and continued trauma? What will we do to ensure complete and true justice in this and every other case that we “monitor?” Our communities are calling on us, and the NBPA is calling on you, like us, to step up your game.
NATIONAL BLACK POLICE ASSOCIATION goal is to increase the awareness of the community, to be the conscience of the Criminal Justice System, and to enhance the quality of life in the African-American Community
For more information on the National Black Police Association you can email: email@example.com, call 855-879-6272 or check out their website. There are located at 1725 “I” Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006,