Minneapolis, MN – The president of the Minneapolis police union said that the city administration has violated the union contract by refusing to let them see bodycam video from George Floyd’s arrest.
Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Lieutenant Bob Kroll told CBS This Morning that his union can’t make any statement about what happened when Floyd died while he was being arrested because they haven’t been allowed to see the video.
“The administration broke our policy, which gives us the ability to see, to review the video,” Lt. Kroll explained. “So, we were blindsided, we only saw the social media video.”
“In all other officer-involved critical incidents, we are entitled to review,” he said. “What I’ve seen of it is only what the public has seen on the cellphone, and it is horrific.”
CBS This Morning host Gayle King attacked Lt. Kroll and the other union leaders who appeared with him on the show for not being willing to condemn the officers’ behavior based on what they saw on social media.
“Any human being that watched that, knows that that shouldn’t [have] ended the way that it did,” Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis Director Rich Walker Sr. said. “But we also know that there is more to the story.”
“They say he never resisted in the statements released,” Walker added. “We don’t know if he never resisted because we haven’t seen from the time the officer stopped him until the point he was on the ground.”
King accused union leaders of having put up a “blue wall of silence” for refusing to condemn something they had not yet seen.
“It feels like this, it feels like the ‘blue wall of silence’ again. That we’re not going to say anything negative about a fellow officer even though what you’re looking and seeing with your own eyes seems especially egregious and heinous?” the host asked.
But Lt. Kroll defended the union’s silence as a reluctance to pass judgment on police officers prior to having all the information.
“We would just like to see what we are entitled to in our agreement in our policy, [which] is our officer’s body camera footage,” the lieutenant told King. “It might shed some light that we’re unaware of. Right now, we cannot make an informed decisions about the other officers who do not appear on camera.”
King accused the union leaders of causing “extreme upset” by asking for the bodycam video.
“It does look and sound horrible, I completely agree with you Gayle,” Lt. Kroll said.
But he also insisted that union leaders needed all the information before they could make a statement about what happened in the Floyd case.
This is not the first time prosecutors and city officials have withheld relevant information that may affect the narrative being told about the 46-year-old Floyd’s death while he was being arrested by the Minneapolis police on May 25.
Former Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest. His charges have since been upgraded to second-degree murder.
On June 3, former Minneapolis Police Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for their role in Floyd’s arrest.
Two days after the other officers were charged, the attorney for former Officer Lane revealed that his client and Officer Kueng were in their first week of working as police officers when the Floyd arrest occurred.
Former Officer Chauvin was their field training officer.
Attorney Earl Gray, who is representing former Officer Lane, said that the incident happened during his client’s third shift as a police officer, according to NBC News.
Gray said it was former Officer Kueng’s second shift working as a police officer.
The officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.
Floyd was pronounced dead 90 minutes later at the hospital.
After three days of violent riots and looting that left Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, in flames, the state investigative agency announced it making an arrest.
Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension four days after the incident and held on a $500,000 bond, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced, according to WCCO.
According to charging documents, the medical examiner’s preliminary report found no physical evidence that Floyd had suffered from asphyxiation or strangulation at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
The preliminary autopsy findings indicated Floyd had died from a combination of his underlying medical problems and possible substances.
“The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” according to the complaint.
Veteran forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden told reporters on Monday at the Floyd family press conference that his independent autopsy determined that the man had died of asphyxiation much in the same way Eric Garner died from a choke hold in New York in 2014, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The Eric Garner autopsy report showed no damage to any area of his neck, and it was determined that he died of a medical emergency induced by officers who were arresting him.
However, Baden didn’t actually perform an autopsy on Floyd and instead based his entire report on what he saw in cell phone videos from social media.
The final autopsy findings released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office hours later confirmed that Floyd had died from heart failure.
“Cause of death: Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” Floyd’s autopsy said. “Manner of death: Homicide.”
“How injury occurred: Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” the report continued. “Other significant conditions: Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.”
The toxicology results showing fentanyl and methamphetamine directly contradicted assertions by the forensic pathologist that Floyd’s family’s attorneys hired to dispute the initial medical examiner’s report.
And a postmortem nasal swab showed that Floyd tested positive SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, according to KSTP.
He had previously tested positive for COVID-19 in April 3.