MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - What if there had been no video?
That is the question on many are asking following the national outrage over the killing of George Floyd.
Floyd died on May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody. A video taken by a bystander showed now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he repeatedly cried out that he could not breathe. Bystanders are heard in the video pleading with the other officers on scene to check on Floyd as he appears to stop breathing and goes limp, but neither Chauvin nor the other officers moved from their positions until the ambulance arrived.
The initial report released by the Minneapolis Police Department at 12:41 a.m. on May 26 said Floyd died after a “medical incident.” The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has since ruled Floyd’s death a homicide and Chauvin has been charged with murder.
At a press conference Wednesday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo was asked the question that has been on everyone’s minds: Would we have known about this if there had been no video?
Arradondo said the police department should never have to rely on citizens to film such incidents, but he is thankful the incident was captured on video.
“I’m thankful, absolutely, that this was captured in the manner that it was,” Arradondo said.
He added that the community plays a vital role in holding police officers accountable and said if a citizen observes misconduct by a police officer, they should not hesitate to record it.
“Record. Absolutely.” Arradondo said. “Record. Call. Call a friend. Yell out. Call 911, we need a supervisor to the scene. I need to know that. We need to know that.”
Arradondo announced his plans to reform the police department on Wednesday, including withdrawing from negotiations on the unfinished contract with the police union and restarting an effort to identify troubled police officers through early warning signs.