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I will take some heat for this, however, we are all complicit in the death of George Floyd — each and every one of us who has ever been in a position of leadership of a criminal justice agency, who had a responsibility to make certain our staff knew what was reasonable and appropriate in the dealing of defendants and offenders.
Now I have been there. I have had incidents where I have had to use force and the adrenalin going so strong I was glad someone else was there to tell me, ‘Hey, the guy is down.’ I have also been the guy to tell another, ‘Hey man, the guy is under control.’ Many times our emotions are so strong we need to have someone check us. And, we need to have internal checks taught to all staff. Taught so they are a part of muscle memory. Leadership is responsible for teaching the internal checks for staff so they only do what is necessary.
Now was it appropriate to put Floyd on his stomach to cuff him? I don’t know, but I do know for many years we have all been taught when we put someone on their stomach as soon as you have control, roll him or her on their sides, and if at all possible have them sit up. I cannot believe the officer in this matter was not taught this, and if he was not, shame on us as criminal justice leaders.
I applaud the sheriff in Flint, Michigan, who walked with the protesters this month. Why? Because our No. 1 job is keeping the peace. He and some other police chiefs did the same. Thanks to everyone who was invited and walked with the protestors. Thanks to everyone who recognizes their No. 1 job is keeping the peace.