Newell: Nothing about Minneapolis makes any sense to me

Nothing I've seen justifies George Floyd's death, but what does trashing Target help?

Newell Normand
May 28, 2020 - 5:40 pm

Yesterday, I said that the natural course of the investigation into the tragic death of George Floyd would reveal information that would determine whether or not the officers acted appropriately or not. What I saw in the video doesn’t comport with any training that I have ever received in 40 years of law enforcement, and the officer’s cavalier attitude, putting his hands in his pockets while he subdued Mr. Floyd, doesn’t make a lot of sense either. 

Nor do I understand the necessity for holding him down in the street like that. Why not just pick him up? He’s already handcuffed, and the officers had already had him up on his feet after they took him out of his car. It still remains to be seen what exactly was being investigated, but just put him in the back of the police car! I don’t understand why they did what they did, and a lot of law enforcement leaders across America have said the same thing - that this was problematic from the very beginning.

Having said that, you have got to let the investigation run its course. Obviously, there are those who don't think so. Some of the people in the streets of Minneapolis you can fairly call “protestors,” and there are others who I would characterize as “criminals.” Destroying a Target store, looting and stealing TVs and other goods - those are not the actions of peaceful demonstrators, these are the actions of criminal thugs. You don’t articulate a position against what you perceive to be a criminal act that way. You become what you protest. I will reserve judgement until I have had a chance to see all the evidence presented, but it doesn’t look good. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

But what does Target have to do with this? What does AutoZone have to do with it? What does destroying your community have to do with protesting a death in your community? You protest by criminal acts? That actually furthers this dialogue? That creates a landscape for healing? That helps us come together and figure out what went wrong? Does it help prosecute the officers, if charges are filed?

Medaria Arradondo, the Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, said that he had to order the use of tear gas after violence and looting. He said he’s committed to protecting the rights of people to demonstrate, but they have to do it peacefully. Amid the protests and the chanting, there are folks out there committing criminal acts, as if that’s going to help foster healing and bring accountability? I don’t think so! So let’s call it what it is. There’s just no room for this behavior. It’s absolutely wrong. 

Nothing I have seen so far in the video suggests that George Floyd was resisting arrest. Was he completely and totally compliant? No, but he was not overtly resisting to the point that the measures taken by the officers were necessary. That’s not what I saw, and more videos will come forward, just as I predicted yesterday. The newest video shows a clearer picture of events leading up to the death, and they don’t support the actions taken. Why did they do that? I don’t know.

What happened in the video is contrary to our training and didn’t seem necessary to me, especially with another officer standing right next to him, doing nothing. If he’s resisting, why aren’t you helping? Why are we using a tactic that we know is going to put Mr. Floyd at risk? I just don’t know that any of that was necessary at all. 

Let the investigators investigate. But in the meanwhile, burning cars, looting stores, and destroying the district station won’t get you anywhere.


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