Police are here to protect the community. Not to judge or to punish. Our job is to enforce laws and arrest those who break those laws, so that the criminal justice system can take the next steps. A recent event in Minneapolis has reminded me that not all officers realize this.
I am a veteran peace officer with more than 40 years of service. First with Seguin P.D. then with Comal County S.O. and finally with the Guadalupe County S.O., I have served as a patrol officer, a detective, and a supervisor. In the time I served, I have observed good and bad police conduct. I, like most of my peers, have stepped in to stop behavior of other officers when it was inappropriate or dangerous.
The recent police misconduct incident in Minneapolis is inexcusable. To hold an arrested person down as was done is, in my opinion, tantamount to murder. George Floyd was handcuffed and lying on the ground when one officer held him down by placing his lower leg across Mr. Floyd’s neck. Mr. Floyd repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe. Bystanders also repeatedly asked the officer to let up some on Mr. Floyd’s neck so he could breathe.
When they were ignored, the bystanders started to get closer. Another officer at the scene then pulled out his can of chemical spray to back off the bystanders. It would have been better if one of the other officers on scene would have stepped up to check on Mr. Floyd’s condition. Not one of the officers apparently chose to do so. Additionally, at least one of the other officers on scene should have asked the officer holding Mr. Floyd down to let up enough so he could breathe. There were four officers in total on scene and that is more than enough to hold down a handcuffed man, even a large man like Mr. Floyd.
In short, four public servants failed their community. Criminal charges should be sought after a thorough investigation: One murder indictment and three for accessory to murder for failing to step in and do their duty to prevent Mr. Floyd’s death. That may sound harsh to some because it is assumed by some that “cops stick together,” but a criminal act by intention or neglect is still a crime even if the person responsible is wearing a badge. The law applies equally to everyone.
Don’t forget this death was only over a possible fake $20 bill. I think George Floyd’s life was worth more than $20. I’m sure his family, friends and others who loved him and cared about him would agree.
Jimmy Limmer, Seguin, Retired Texas Peace Officer