MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Leaders of the Minneapolis police union acknowledged Tuesday that bystander video of the police encounter with George Floyd was â€œhorrificâ€ but said they’ve been denied the chance to look at body camera video that could shed more light on what happened before Floyd ended up on the ground.
Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, pressed his knee into his neck for nearly 8 minutes and held it there even after Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and stopped moving. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
All four officers were fired.
The union issued a statement soon after Floyd died cautioning the public not to rush to judgment and saying the union would provide its â€œfull supportâ€ to the officers. The union has since been mostly silent. But on Tuesday, the union’s president, Lt. Bob Kroll, told â€œCBS This Morningâ€ that he thinks union members are being scapegoated for incompetent department leadership.
Kroll acknowledged that widely seen cellphone video of Floydâ€™s death is â€œhorrific,â€ but that the union was left â€œblindsidedâ€ by being denied the right to review officer body camera video.
â€œRight now we cannot make an informed decision regarding the other officers that do not appear on camera,â€ he said.
Union director Rich Walker said â€œany human beingâ€ that watches the bystander video knows that Floydâ€™s arrest â€œshould not have ended the way it did.â€ But Walker questioned statements that Floyd didnâ€™t resist officers because the union hasnâ€™t seen footage of the minutes leading up to what the bystander video showed.
After Floydâ€™s death, Chief Medaria Arradondo said he was pausing contract negotiations with the union to consider major changes. Anna Hedberg, another union director, told â€œCBS This Morningâ€ that before Floydâ€™s death the union had been having â€œgreat conversationsâ€ with city leaders and Arradondo. She said itâ€™s â€œdumbfounding to me that one incident, we become the scapegoat to having a bad officer.â€