CORAL SPRINGS, FL - Like all of you, I was shocked by the video I saw of the Minneapolis Police officer’s actions in the death of George Floyd. I don’t know all the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident. What I do know is that an officer was kneeling on the neck of a handicapped suspect for a prolonged period of time. Mr. Floyd was heard begging the officer to get off his neck and said multiple times that he could not breathe. The officer maintained pressure on Mr. Floyd’s neck, ignoring his pleas. Sadly, Mr. Floyd later died.
The use of force should always be commensurate with the resistance of the subject. In this case, the suspect was under control and cuffed. I don’t know why he was left on the roadway and not placed in the back of the police vehicle. I don’t know why the officer knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck and I have no explanation as to why Mr. Floyd’s pleas were ignored, not only by the officer on his neck, but by the officers who stood by and allowed this to go on.
The reason why I and many officers entered this profession was to defend those who could not defend themselves. To right the wrongs, protect and serve, and to make a difference in our community. I cannot condone the inexplicable actions of this officer. Moreover, I cannot explain nor fathom why other officers stood by and allowed this to occur.
What I can do is assure all of you that this type of action is not acceptable in our department. These actions are contrary to our training, policies, procedures, and culture. We do not train officers to use such tactics, and tactics like this will NEVER be approved under my administration. Once a subject is in custody and under control, our officers provide for the safety of the subject.
What troubles me most about this situation is that we have worked very hard to gain the public trust. Now, because of the actions of a few, the intentions of the many are called into questions. I am angered to think that because of these actions, some residents may look at our officers differently. Our community outreach efforts have been tremendous, and we have made significant progress. I will continue to work diligently to ensure that our progress will not be diminished by the actions of the officers fifteen hundred miles away from us.
I know that the actions of those officers will require us all to work harder to keep and grow the public trust. This is one of our core functions and my department remains dedicated to that goal. I know you are aware that the Coral Springs Police Department is a professional, well-trained law enforcement agency. I assure you that what occurred in Minneapolis is not, in any way, shape, or form, acceptable in our department and our community.