OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – George Floyd’s death beneath the knee of a Minneapolis, Minn., police officer has prompted fierce criticism against excessive force by police officers, and Oklahoma City’s police chief wants to ensure residents that his department works hard to avoid such tragedies.
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.
EMS personnel said Floyd showed no signs of life when they arrived.
Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley posted a video on YouTube in response to what he referred to as the “tragic incident which recently occurred in Minneapolis, Minn.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this unfortunate incident,” Gourley said early in the video.
Gourley then proceeded to describe the measures that his department takes to facilitate better interactions between officers and community members, and occurrences similar to what happened in Minneapolis.
The police chief said his department maintains “really good relationships with all members of the community in Oklahoma City.”
He said he’s been reaching out to members of the community to address any concerns that may have.
“The good thing is we do this on a regular basis by meeting with groups and talking about our policies and procedures and protocols,” Gourley said. “We continually look at those to update them. We could always do better, and that’s why we continually review our procedures and what we do.”
Gourley said his department “most importantly” reviews all incidents of force that officers are involved in.
“We also review our training, and our officers actually participate in use of force scenarios and use of force training annually,” he said.”We do this to make sure that all of our procedures are followed, and that our officers are continually updated and know what to do when circumstances happen.”
Gourley said officers are also trained to understand what could happen as people go into distress and possibly start moving toward an in-custody death situation.
He said OKCPD does something that many other departments across the country do not do, which is evaluating deescalation on every use of force.
“Training in our department is heavily focused on deescalation, and our desire is for our officers not to be involved in use of force,” Gourley said.
Watch the below video Gourley’s entire response.