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Friday, February 26, 2021

We Have Become the ‘Scapegoat’

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll called the bystander video of the death of George Floyd “horrific” while cautioning the public not to rush to judgment.

The union has been mostly silent about Floyd’s death since issuing a statement soon after he died on May 25 after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly eight minutes.

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Kroll said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” he thinks union members are being scapegoated for incompetent department leadership.

Kroll says the union has been denied its right to review officer body-camera video. Union director Rich Walker says “any human being” watching the video knows Floyd’s arrest “should not have ended the way it did.”

Do you think police officers have been unfairly scapegoated after the death of George Floyd?

But Walker questioned statements that Floyd didn’t resist officers because the union hasn’t seen footage of the minutes leading up to the bystander video showed.

Police chief Medaria Arradondo said after Floyd’s death that he’s pausing contract negotiations with the union to consider major changes. Anna Hedberg, another union director, says the union had been having “great conversations” with city leaders and Arradondo before Floyd’s death.

She says it’s “dumbfounding to me that one incident, we become the scapegoat to having a bad officer.”

Ex-officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers at the scene are charged with aiding and abetting.

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WASHINGTON — Americans overwhelmingly want clear standards for police on when officers may use force and consequences imposed on officers who do so excessively.

That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that finds Americans favor significant changes to the country’s criminal justice system.

Americans are largely united behind the idea that action is required: 40 percent say it needs “major changes;” 29 percent think the criminal justice system needs “a complete overhaul” and 25 percent say it needs “minor changes.” Just 5 percent believe no changes are necessary.

The poll also finds there is strong support for penalizing officers who engage in racially biased policing. Americans are more likely now than five years ago to say that police violence against the public is a very serious problem and that officers who cause injury or death on the job are treated too leniently.

The survey of American adults took place after weeks of mass demonstrations against police violence and calls from some politicians and activists to “defund” police departments in response to the death of George Floyd.

___

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines City Council unanimously approved an anti-racial profiling ordinance that prohibits biased policing and requires city employees to report violations by officers.

Some supporters say the vote Monday night was only a first step and officials need to take additional actions.

The ordinance prohibits discriminatory pretextual stops, in which drivers are stopped for one infraction but charged with a different infraction. Many residents who spoke before the council voted wanted all pretextual stops banned.

The ordinance also mandates additional officer training, requires city employees to report incidents of biased policing they witness and creates a board with community members that helps the city manager review data and make policy recommendations.

Daniel Zeno, policy and advocacy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, says passage of the measure was a good step. He’d also like to see a citizen oversight committee.

For years, advocates have been calling for the council to approve such an ordinance. Officials began working on the new rules following protests of George Floyd’s death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.



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