The Police Chief, Minneapolis Police and the Minneapolis Police Board played a key role in the killing of George Floyd

City where George Floyd was killed struggles to recruit cops as a result of its policy on body cameras

Published February 28, 2019

The killing of black teenager George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis on August 9, 2019, has shaken the African-American community in the Twin Cities. The case has drawn more than its fair share of attention from the police community, with activists and reporters scrutinizing all aspects of this tragedy. While many are criticizing the use of force by the officer involved, few have taken the time to explore what role, if any, the police chief, Minneapolis police and the Minneapolis Police Board played in the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd.

When the Ferguson unrest first broke out in 2014, the police chief in the St. Louis suburb where the protests began, James von Brunn, ordered police officers to avoid using force and to not confront protestors. A 2015 report from The Guardian found that this led to a decline in the number of incidents and arrests. In 2015, The Guardian reports that, in St. Louis, a community survey found that the police were “the most trusted source of information” regarding public-safety issues in the community. And, after a 2016 meeting held by the Police Commission, when the Chief said, “I don’t want to see anyone killed, ever, so I’m going to get you to do what you do best: Avoid confrontation,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles stated that he didn’t agree with “all the things the new police chief wanted to do.”

The lack of police force that was seen in St. Louis could be linked to the police force that was seen in Baltimore, Maryland, which was ranked as the third most violent American city in 2015. According to their own statistics, Baltimore police made nearly 6,000 arrests last year, while the majority of those arrests were of people who had not been convicted of a crime.

In Baltimore, the chief of police has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation into the death of Freddie Gray is ongoing. Police Chief Michael Harrison said a number of officers have failed to properly train and were on duty when Gray died. “The investigation is ongoing, and we want it to continue as long as necessary,” Harrison said.

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