The initial inaccurate and misleading description of George Floyd’s death last May by the Minneapolis Police Department “might have become the official account” of what happened, had it not been for the video taken by teenage spectator Keith Boykin, a CNN commentator, written on twitter.
The video, taken by Darnella Frazier, emerged on the night of Mr Floyd’s death and gave audiences a better understanding of what had happened. Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo testified at Mr. Chauvin’s trial that hours after Mr. Floyd’s death, he received a text from a local resident telling him about the video.
Later, Chief Arradondo, who testified as a prosecution witness in Mr. Chauvin’s trial, congratulated Ms. Frazier on her actions.
After the guilty verdict was announced Tuesday afternoon, Boykin and others posted the police department’s initial account of events on social media. For many, this was yet another reason not to fully trust the accounts offered by police officers, and underscored the need for video independent of police actions.
“Seriously, read it again knowing what we know,” CNN host Jake Tapper, written on twitter.
The initial press release, posted on the police department’s website, was titled “Man dies after medical incident during interaction with police.” He said Mr. Floyd, who was not identified by name, “physically resisted officers” at the scene who ordered him to get out of his vehicle. “The officers were able to handcuff the suspect and noted that he appeared to be in medical distress,” the statement said.
Officers called an ambulance and Mr. Floyd was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died, he said.
Then, in a separate one-sentence paragraph, the department said, “At no time have weapons of any kind been used by anyone involved in this incident.”
State officials were investigating the episode and body cameras had been activated, the statement said. He also noted: “No police were injured in the incident.”
Ms Frazier’s video helped break up that narrative and showed Mr Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
Police officials in major cities across the country, who usually support each other especially in times of crisis, have welcomed the verdict against a former member of their ranks.
New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea, by far the tallest in the country, said on twitter, “Justice has been served.” Superintendent Shaun Ferguson of the New Orleans Police Department mentionned the verdict “is justice done”.
Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner said, “Sometimes justice takes a little while, but it’s going to get there.” He added, “If there’s anyone in town who wants to party, we’ll be there with you.” But, he said, “Do it the right way.”
In Seattle, the police department said, “Mr. Floyd’s murder was a defining moment for this country ”and added,“ From that pain, however, real change has begun. ”
And in Oakland, Calif., The police department called on people to “show compassion, empathy and forgiveness.” He also said, “Together we will work to rethink the police in America.”
Last year Ray Kelly, who retired in 2013 after serving 12 years as the New York City Police Commissioner, told the Wall Street Journal: “This is the worst act of police brutality. that I saw.”