MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The fatal arrest of George Floyd re-ignites the debate over what type of restraint is considered okay during an arrest.
“When you hear someone calling for help you are supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic human sense,” Mayor Jacob Frey said.
Frey wasted little time condemning how officers handled the arrest George Floyd. The knee in the back of Floyd’s neck is training Mylan Masson recognized.
“It used to be a training method used quite a bit. The reason was it was, was if you can control the head you can control the body,” Masson said.
Masson is a former Minneapolis Park police officer who now teaches law enforcement training. With just a short video clip to go on, Masson said some context may be missing. But she said officers are taught to be careful of the neck and back.
“We would teach that but once the person was under control, the threat was stopped, then we would release that move,” Masson said.
Minneapolis police said use of force incidents dropped from 2009 to 2018, and only about .3% of all calls during that time were use of force. But it’s how that force is used that’s being debated.
“Certainly any downward pressure directly on the neck would be problematic,” Tom Aveni said.
Aveni is a retired police officer and use of force expert. Like Masson, he said there isn’t a lot of context to go on, but he said when someone is having difficulty breathing officers need to pay attention.
“That’s not a position to keep someone in very long anyway. If you have someone in a prone position and they are restrained, get them on their side as quickly as possible. That’s generally what you do when the handcuffs are applied,” Masson said.
This case is drawing comparisons to Eric Garner’s 2014 death in New York.
A police officer put him in a choke-hold after they say he resisted their commands.
He was under suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes.
Garner’s words “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for millions in a nationwide plea to end police brutality
The officer in that case was fired but not charged with a crime.
Earlier today, Bob Kroll, President of the Minneapolis Police Federation released a statement asking the public “not to rush to judgment and for the community remain calm and the let the investigation be completed in full.”