Local law enforcement leaders speak out on George Floyd’s death: ‘It’s time we stand up’

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Family and friends want to remember George Floyd as a kind, friendly and goofy man. The 46-year-old security guard was killed after an arrest. USA TODAY

Two local law enforcement leaders are speaking out against the deadly actions a white police officer took to restrain a black man from Minneapolis earlier this week.

George Floyd, 46, died Monday evening, shortly after video footage showed a white officer, identified as Derek Chauvin, kneeling on his neck.

In the video, Floyd is seen handcuffed, gasping for air and saying, “I can’t breathe.”

On Thursday, Reno Police Chief Jason Soto described the incident as “unjust” on Twitter.

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He said law enforcement must recognize and be critical of those unjust actions taken by those who are given the authority to arrest people.

“Kneeling on a man’s neck, for several minutes, with several other officers standing by watching is unjust and wrong,” Soto said in a post on Twitter. “We spend hundreds of hours training over the course of our career to avoid such actions and to maintain trust with all of our citizens.

“I am deeply disturbed and saddened by this.”

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam also responded to the fatal incident on social media. In a post to his Facebook page, Balaam shared a conversation he had with his daughter.

In the Facebook post, Balaam said his daughter asked him why the officers involved in the incident ignored Floyd’s plea.

“Do your police officers do that?” Balaam said his daughter asked him. “No one helped him Dad, and they showed it on the news.”

Balaam said law enforcement should “stand up and call out those few who choose to disgrace our badge, tarnish our profession and absolutely abuse their authority.”

“We all took an oath ‘to protect and serve and uphold the constitution,’” he said. “It’s time we hold our own to that oath.”

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The Minneapolis Police Department fired Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident—Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.

According to a report from USA Today, the FBI and state law enforcement there are also investigating Floyd’s death.

His death has sparked a series of protests from thousands who are demanding justice.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for criminal charges to be filed in the case.

Marcella Corona is a breaking news reporter who covers crime and justice in Northern Nevada. Support her work by subscribing to RGJ.com.

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