OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – As protests erupt across the nation following the shocking death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, law enforcement officials in Oklahoma are also speaking out about the disturbing incident.
Floyd, 46, died Monday after pleading for help as officer Derek Chauvin, a 19-year police veteran, kneeled down on the back of his neck for about nine minutes.
The encounter, which was captured on cell phone video, showed Floyd telling the officers that he couldn’t breathe.
Since his death, an investigation has been launched and the four officers involved have been fired from the department.
In the days that followed, protests have erupted in areas like Minneapolis, Columbus, and St. Paul.
The incident has caused police departments across the country to take a look at their own use of force policies.
“Like all of you, I was deeply disturbed by the police incident in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As Sheriff of Oklahoma County, I believe it is imperative that our deputies receive proper training and we police with respect.
Community trust is built through transparency, and relationships. Last year, I endorsed the creation of the sheriff’s office first ever Community Advisory Board to improve transparency and to make sure we have an open line of communication with those who we protect. We must uphold the highest standards. Our profession commands it, and our community must be treated with dignity,”Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor
The Norman Police Department also responded with the following statement:
The recent incident involving the Minneapolis Police Department that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd is both sickening and disturbing. We condemn the actions of these officers, as they are not consistent with the Norman Police Department’s values specifically a shared respect for individual rights and human dignity.
While our officers receive annual training relating to proper use of force, de-escalation, and critical decision-making, I am committed to the continual review of our training methods and curriculums. De-escalation methods permeate through all department training. Norman officers also receive basic academy training and continued education in areas such as Racial Intelligence Training and Education (RITE) as well as trainings relating to cultural sensitivity, implicit bias, bias based calls for service response, and ethical policing.
We also continue to uphold our commitment to transparency through our use of body cameras and the voluntary release of use of force and complaint information and data through our Open Data Portal. I encourage open dialogue with community members and partners as we aim to work together on furthering joint problem solving, accountability, enhanced understanding, and innovation in our policing efforts.
Police officers are charged with protection of life in a manner that is legal, ethical, empathetic and fair. I commit to continuing proactive engagement with our community to maintain and strengthen trust while also establishing a clear understanding that such actions are unacceptable.Norman Police Chief Kevin Foster