Houston police chief Art Acevedo suggested on "Your World" Wednesday that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin may have had a personal motivation when he knelt on George Floyd's neck shortly before his May 25 death, and urged investigators to examine the relationship between both men "very closely."
"I know if it was in my city, I would be investigating very closely the relationship with Mr. Floyd and the officer that had that knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds," Acevedo told host Neil Cavuto.
"I have a feeling that we may find some kind of conflict that may have led to this individual doing what he did with an abandoned heart and with malice in his heart, which I think will have an impact on the type of charges and the impact on the trial moving forward."
Chauvin and Floyd both worked as security guards at the same Minneapolis nightclub as recently as last year, but details of their interactions are unconfirmed.
On Wednesday, a former coworker told CBS that the two men had a history and that they "bumped heads" on several occasions.
The former owner of the nightclub was unable to confirm details, but the Associated Press reported that she recalled incidents when Chauvin became aggressive during events that drew a mainly black clientele, and would respond to fights by spraying the crowd with Mace.
"I don't think that you can eliminate race in equivalence of the motivation," Acevedo said, reiterating that investigators have to look "deep into his [Chauvin's] past and motives."
Acevedo, who testified earlier Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee on issues related to police brutality and racial profiling, also told Cavuto that he was opposed to the movement to "defund the police," saying that "communities of color and poor communities need us."