The following is a guest post from Val Parks, a previous debater to Citizen Jane Blog. It reflects her perspective on the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by policy in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.
As a former Corrections Officer I have restrained inmates on numerous occasions in the course of my duties. During the course of my duties I have never been a part of or witnessed the type of abuse used by Minnesota police to restrain George Floyd.
As officers we are mandated to use only the amount of force required to stop the threat. George Floyd was arrested for passing a fake twenty dollar bill at a convenience store to purchase cigarettes. This is a non violent crime. The type of hold used far exceeded the amount of force necessary to quell the incident. Once Floyd had been handcuffed the hold was no longer necessary , he should have been brought to his feet and detained or placed in a squad car .
His death was unnecessary. The officers are responsible for taking this mans life and should have been arrested pending trial as any other person would have been under similar circumstances.
My opinion is that officers are not above the law. As a matter of fact officers are charged with a sacred duty to conduct themselves professionally at all times. We are charged with public safety and the public must be able to trust the police to not only protect them, but protect those who are charged pending trial. It is NOT within an officers purview to exact his or her own brand of justice, that is for the courts to determine.
I am saddened by actions of the officers in this case as it puts an indelible stain on the profession. The vast majority of police officers are in fact worthy of the trust the public places in them. I know I am not alone in this regard as many officers that I have served with have expressed similar concerns. I believe it is time for Americans to live up to the ideals that this great country was founded on. The idea that all men are created equal, and as such deserve equal treatment under the law.
Changes have to be made like a uniform use of force policy for police officers across the nation. Archaic and brutal tactics must be eliminated . There should also be uniform standards for discipline including dismissal f. or policy violations. A national data base should be in place so an officers disciplinary record would follow him or her and would give prospective employers a heads up.prior to hiring them. A task force should be appointed in each state to provide over site and to insure all policies are abided by.
I believe we can make the changes necessary to protect the public and protect officers and the dignity of their work.