• Police leaders must ensure that their use of force policies are being followed and that officers are well-trained
  • Police leaders must insist on personal accountability of all officers in their ranks
  • Police leaders must look for officers and instill in them a sense of collegial accountability

Street Justice from the thin blue line: A view from the top

What Lessons Must Be Learned From The Unnecessary Death of George Floyd

By Dean Crisp

This picture is not police service; nor protection of the innocent; nor is it serving our communities; and it is NOT anything close to what all officers swear to uphold as they raise their hand in servitude.

 

 

This is pure and simply, misguided & illegal street justice handed out by a weak, fearful, and angry cop that resulted in the death of George Floyd.  Every eye that can see and ear that can hear clearly is witness to the horrific act on George Floyd in the name of police work. 

This is not the Police Work that 99.9 percent of our Great Officers do everyday. This is pure and simple three things:

  1. Abuse of force
  2. A complete lack of personal accountability and
  3. A complete lack of collegial accountability in that 3 other officers turned a blind eye to a rogue cop.

I realize that most police agencies have aggressively reformed their use of force policies to adjust to modern standards. And, make no mistake this has helped, but this is not enough.  I have found that even a great policy in the hands of ill-intended individuals does not usually produce the desired results.

We as Police Leaders Should Do More. Not only should we periodically review policies related to incidents such as this, but we MUST put as much effort into what I believe are the keys to Becoming a great Police Officer.

1. Personal Accountability

2. Holding Others Accountable.

Finding those characteristics begins early at the selection process for officer, but often times are forgotten or weakened by our cultural norms and job protections. (a.k.a strong police unions and the blue wall of silence) One can be personally accountable, but feel pressure to stay silent while another officer is doing wrong for fear of retribution.

Imagine if just one officer on the scene had the courage to go to the officer and say “Hey take it easy., get your knee off his neck, Let’s put him in the car,”?  This would have resulted in a life being saved; a beautiful American city being saved from the riots and potential destruction we have seen; and the police-community relations in tact.

I do not have all the facts in the case nor do I need them. I witnessed with my own eyes three other cops allowing one of their own to continue to apply improper use of force leading to the death of a person. A person who had clearly been subdued and taken into custody.  This did not need to happen. It should not have happened.

Entrusting your care to the police is one of the fundamental foundational values that policing was created upon. Especially after being arrested and cuffed. Once the fight is over it’s over. A handcuffed suspect is just that “handcuffed.”

This senseless use of excessive force has set police community relations on its heels and will cause countless good officers to be injured or killed.

How can we as police officers encourage people to follow our commands and instructions and willingly give up their freedoms after witnessing such a blatant use of force and denial of basic civil rights most especially after the subject had been arrested and cuffed? 

Absolutely, I know and support the policies that everyone should follow police commands and do as an officer instructs, but we have to wake up to the reality that acts such as this create fear in people.

I truly am hoping this will not result in more and more unnecessary uses of force and a cycle of conduct that is detrimental to society as a whole.  Trust in the police is a fundamental principle that keeps our society in balance.  Without it no one is safe. 

Rest in Peace George Floyd.

I trust your death will awaken all of us to the fundamental principles of personal accountability and holding others accountable. And that those two principles will become a major priority for US as the Police in the future. 

Dean Crisp

Weigh in with your thoughts on this important topic

 

 

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