MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Leaders of the Minneapolis Police Department admitted Tuesday that bystander video of the police meeting with George Floyd was “horrifying” but said they were denied the opportunity to watch body camera video that could shed more light on what happened before Floyd landed on the ground.
Floyd, a black man with handcuffs, died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, pressed and held his knee in his neck for nearly 8 minutes, even after Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and stopped moving. Chauvin is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other agents are charged with aiding murder and manslaughter.
All four officers were fired.
The union issued a statement shortly after Floyd’s death warning the public not to rush to judge and said the union would give its “full support” to the officers. The union has been largely silent ever since. But on Tuesday, the union president, Lieutenant Bob Kroll, told “CBS This Morning” that he thinks union members are being scapegoated for incompetent departmental leadership.
Kroll acknowledged that the widespread mobile phone video of Floyd’s death is “ horrifying, ” but that the union was left “ blinded ” by being denied the right to review the officer’s camera video.
“At this point, we cannot make an informed decision about the other agents who don’t show up on the camera,” he said.
Union director Rich Walker said that “any person” who watches the bystander’s video knows that Floyd’s arrest “should not have ended the way it was.” But Walker questioned statements that Floyd didn’t oppose officers because the union hadn’t seen footage from the minutes prior to what the bystander’s video showed.
After Floyd’s death, Chief Medaria Arradondo said he paused contract negotiations with the union to consider major changes. Anna Hedberg, another union director, told “CBS This Morning” that before Floyd’s death, the union had had “great conversations” with city leaders and Arradondo. She said it is “stunned that in one incident we become the scapegoat if we have a bad officer.”
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