Jefferson County District Attorneys Danny Carr (Birmingham Division) and Lynneice Washington (Bessemer Cutoff), in a joint statement, called the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on Monday “reprehensible”.
“Consequences should be forthcoming,” they added.
Floyd, who is African American, died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt with a knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. Floyd was handcuffed and suspected of forgery. He pleaded with the officer, saying “I can’t breathe, man; please let me stand” before losing consciousness. The event was captured on video.
On Tuesday, the four officers involved in the incident were fired. On Thursday Minneapolis officials announce that Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
“The world watched as Mr. Floyd was tried, convicted and sentenced to death by police, though he was never placed into custody,” Carr and Washington said. “We watched as an officer of the law, with the assistance of other officers, placed his body weight on the neck of a handcuffed man, which foreseeably stopped the blood flow to his brains, blocked oxygen to his lungs and resulted in death. Although the officers were fired, Mr. Floyd and his family deserve justice!”
“It’s imperative right now in these times that public officials, people with an ability to make a difference, make statements denouncing any injustices, whether they come from police officers or anywhere else,” Washington told AL.com. “Time is out for sitting on our hands.”
“The murder of George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed African American male, has again highlighted the issue of police brutality in America,” they said in the statement. “These unacceptable, egregious actions must be called out and addressed if our society is to heal.
“As prosecutors in Jefferson County we rely upon our relationships with law enforcement and citizens within our county to assist in efforts to promote safety and earn the community’s trust. We strive hard to work as a team to bring positive change.”
Johnson: This is what happens when you knee is on my neck for so long
Minneapolis is reeling from the reaction to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer earlier this week. It’s what happens, though, when your knee is on my neck for so long.
“Law Enforcement Officers are an important element within our community,” the statement continues. “We must continue to support the good officers while holding the unethical, immoral officers accountable for their actions.
“However, this tragedy in Minneapolis, Minnesota cannot be ignored, nor shall it be forgotten.”
“This is a cry for justice,” Washington added. “It’s a movement, not a moment. It’s imperative that we let our voices be known to reassure the people of Jefferson County that we are here for justice for all.”
The full statement is below: