Video of police officers pinning George Floyd to the ground before he died has gone viral on the Internet and in the media since Floyd’s death last week, and Andy Skoogman, Executive Director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, says that this sort of footage – be it from bystanders’ cellphones or officer bodycams – is key for holding cops accountable when there are conflicting reports of what happened.
Video of Floyd’s death appears to refute a police report that said Floyd died at a hospital after resisting arrest.
“I've said this for many years; I've been in this position for six and a half years, I believe that cellphone videos, I believe that body-worn camera videos are game changers for law enforcement,” Skoogman told “Fox News Sunday,” saying that footage can shine a light on both bad and good behavior. “They weed out the bad apples and they can be used to show great things that police officers are doing. So video is definitely the key in this case as it is in so many other cases in this day and age.”
Skoogman also rejected the idea the the technique employed by now-fired Officer Derek Chauvin in pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground is standard procedure.
“I think there's a national narrative, or there had been last week, that police officers in Minnesota are being trained in the technique that Derek Chauvin used and that is simply not the case,” Skoogman said. “It is the furthest from the truth that that exists. We did condemn the actions of the officer, not only the technique used by Derek Chauvin but the lack of empathy shown by the other officers on the scene.”
Skoogman also commended Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for swiftly firing all of the officers involved.
“You know maybe lay people don't understand, but the ability to terminate an officer that quickly is unprecedented, it doesn't happen very much,” he said.
Speaking of how to effect change, Skoogman said there needs to be an end to “this us versus them mentality,” and that police forces across the country must continue to provide training to address implicit bias.
He also said that efforts must be increased to hire more minority cops.
“We need to do a better job in law enforcement and in communities of color about recruiting new officers,” Skoogman said, while noting that “we are seeing fewer and fewer people who want to be police officers no matter what race they are, and that's a huge problem.”