In an emotional response to George Floyd’s family Sunday night, the Minneapolis police chief said in his mind, all four officers involved in the black man’s killing bear the same responsibility.
“Mr. Floyd died in our hands and so I see that as being complicit,” Chief Medaria Arradondo said. “Silence and inaction, you’re complicit. If there was one solitary voice that would have intervened … that’s what I would have hoped for.”
But no one intervened Monday evening as 46-year-old Floyd begged for his life while ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin remained kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s death sparked protests across the country, with thousands echoing some of the man’s final words, “I can’t breathe.” Some of those demonstrations were peaceful, while others ended in flames, widespread looting, damages and hundreds of arrests as well as injuries.
The four police officers involved in his death were fired from the department Tuesday. Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Arradondo’s response Sunday came after Floyd’s brother asked the chief if he would work to get justice for Floyd. As the chief answered, Floyd’s brother wept.
Arradondo called the killing a “violation of humanity,” and said he didn’t need any more time than what he had to remove the officers from their duties.
“There are absolute truths in life; we need air to breathe,” the chief said. “The killing of Mr. Floyd was an absolute truth that it was wrong.”
“I did not need days or weeks or months or processes or bureaucracies to tell me what occurred out here last Monday was wrong,” he added.
Houston police chief wants to provide escort for Floyd’s body
In a separate interview Sunday night, another police chief, this time from Floyd’s hometown, stood in solidarity.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told CNN he wants his department to provide escort services when George Floyd’s body returns to the city for his burial.
“It’s going to be a big deal for our city to bring him back home,” Acevedo said Sunday night. “We want to make sure that the family is safe, that the movement is safe and most importantly, we want to make sure that the family knows that we are here for them to support at this time.”
This is the first time, Acevedo said, that he’s seen police union leaders speak out like this, and he says that gives him hope for change.
“I am just hopeful that we have reached a watershed moment here and we will see some meaningful reform in terms of the way that we deal with bad police officers and the way we deal with police officers involved in criminal conduct that completely undermines the good work of the vast majority of police officers,” he said.