Wisconsin Professional Police Association issues statement on death of George Floyd
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin's largest police group issued a statement Friday on the death of George Floyd.
The Wisconsin Professional Police Association said the actions of the Minneapolis officers were "outrageous, deplorable, and revolting."
The full statement from executive director Jim Palmer reads:
We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s friends and family. We recognize that this incident has been devastating, and our hearts go out to all those that mourn his passing.
Like many people throughout the nation, law enforcement officers in Wisconsin have seen the horrific video demonstrating the gross mistreatment of George Floyd at the hands of officers in Minneapolis. While we generally avoid drawing conclusions on the videos of police encounters, this incident offers compelling evidence of what occurred, and the WPPA’s role as an advocate for law enforcement officers in Wisconsin and for the profession demand that we speak to the truth of the matter.
The actions of the Minneapolis officers were outrageous, deplorable, and revolting, and would not satisfy the use of force standards and best practices employed by law enforcement in Wisconsin. The outright abuse inflicted upon George Floyd not only failed to meet the legal and professional standards that require officers to exercise force reasonably, it desecrated the most basic notions of human decency.
We see no justification for the officers’ actions in this case, and they represent an affront to the core values and principles upon which the law enforcement profession is founded. This incident not only makes the job of every law enforcement officer more difficult, it makes that job more dangerous as well. It undoes the good work that officers do and the strides that law enforcement has made to strengthen its relationships with the public it serves.
While we recognize that these sentiments alone cannot repair the hurt and pain that exists throughout our country, we believe these acknowledgments are nonetheless important to promote the changes that must occur in the months and years ahead. While the officers’ actions in the death of George Floyd are not representative of the law enforcement profession as a whole, it is an experience familiar to far too many people throughout our country. George Floyd deserved better, and law enforcement must do better to stand up for the high standards of conduct and fair treatment that every American deserves, and has every right to expect.
CBS 58 also spoke to Eugene Reyes, Director of the MATC Police Academy and a retired Milwaukee police officer, about the arrest tactics.
"My first thought was for the victim on the ground, the position of the victim was in and the position of the officer, that was far from any type of standard training," Reyes said.
He said the knee on the neck, seen used in Minneapolis with George Floyd, is "definitely not a technique that is trained for stabilizing someone."
He says that's for a number of reasons.
"The neck is a very dangerous zone that could cause injury to the person you're trying to stabilize you have the spine, you have the carotid artery. You can incapacitate someone, you can kill someone, you can break someone's neck," he said.
The technique, Reyes says, that is taught throughout the country is called three-point ground stabilization.
"Where the officer is gaining control of that subject, while the person's on the ground, on their stomach -- and we are allowed, in training, in the State of Wisconsin -- to control the subject with our knee, 45 degree angles over the subject's back," he said, "And that's simply for control, not for anything else, and we do emphasize in training that the neck is very close to that area where we do train to put the knee, and that you have to be mindful as an officer not to put your knee on that subject's neck."
He says nowhere in the training or curriculum does it state to ever purposely put your knee over someone's neck to control them.
"I think any reasonable person, any reasonable police officer knows any time the resistance or the fight is on, they have to do whatever they can to control that subject and once control is gained, once you have that stabilized or in handcuffs, that level of force must be reduced - and that's the bottom line."
He says the next immediate step after a person is stabilized or handcuffed is to conduct an initial medical assessment. Officers try and roll them on their side as quickly as possible and ask medical questions like if they are injured or if they can breathe. Reyes said when it is established that they have calmed down, officers help the person to rise, and either sit them down, get them to their knees or help them stand.