Having spent 33 years in law enforcement — 12 as a sheriff — I am outraged by the recent actions of the officers in Minneapolis in the George Floyd case.
This horrific behavior is not part of the normal protocol or standard for law enforcement. Once the cuffs were placed on the arrested suspect, that should have been the end of the conflict. He should have been transported IMMEDIATELY. There is no excuse for the horrific behavior that followed.
I believe 99.9 percent of our officers serve with integrity and do a fantastic job protecting citizens every single day of their careers. I am sickened by the actions of the .01 percent. Their behavior taints us all. In my opinion, those few are worse than criminals – they shamelessly violated the oath they took to serve and protect.
I am also deeply saddened by the attitude displayed that “the only good cop is a dead cop.” It is a dangerous attitude that puts the many excellent officers at risk. This belief should not be allowed to fester — it will only result in more tragic situations.
Instead, overt action should be taken by law enforcement agencies to work with their communities to rebuild trust. Agencies need to ensure their staff receives appropriate and ongoing diversity training to help prevent racial issues. Training should also regularly be provided on levels of disproportionate violence from officers. Officers who exhibit actions of racial bigotry or excess force need to immediately be removed from the job. No exceptions.
I urge law enforcement agencies to immediately schedule neighborhood forums to have an open discussion with residents about their concerns, establish a system that residents can express fears or complaints of police brutality, and promote a zero tolerance approach for police offenders — prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of George Floyd.
Former Livingston County Sheriff
Candidate for the 47th District state House seat in the Republican primary