June 1, 2020


Force Used Against George Floyd Appears Unjustified

A Massachusetts organization of former, current and retired police officers, and criminal justice educators is voicing its support for a criminal investigation into the death of 46 year old George Floyd of Minneapolis MN. The Massachusetts Association For Professional Law Enforcement (MAPLE) stated that the application of force, during the arrest of Mr. Floyd, by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department, would appear on its face to be unjustified, unprofessional and unlawful. Floyd was reportedly arrested on a charge of forgery, a non-violent crime. Video of the incident shows that officers applied handcuffs and had placed Floyd in a prone position on the roadway. He appears physically under control. While he was restrained, a Minneapolis Police Officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck. The officer pressed his knee against his neck for an extended length of time, while Floyd could be heard saying he could not breath. No other officers at the scene attempted to intervene to stop this action.

Floyd displayed no active resistance once restrained, lying compliantly on the roadway.  It appeared that the arresting officer had no problem controlling Floyd, and did not communicate the need for him to stop resisting. The officer had his hand either by his side or in his pockets throughout the entire episode, a clear indicator that he no longer perceived Floyd as a threat. After several minutes, Floyd can be seen losing his consciousness. He subsequently lost his life.

MAPLE President Dennis Galvin, a retired Major, and 30 year veteran of the Massachusetts State Police said: “ The images of the officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck are horrific.”   He added: “ The officer’s actions appear to violate every professional norm for controlling people in custody. The indifferent attitude displayed by the officer in the video conveys a level of callousness that is morally repelling.” Galvin said, “This incident is egregious enough on its face to justify a thorough homicide investigation by the District Attorney, and/or Attorney General. The referral of the matter to the US Department of Justice by the President was completely appropriate.”

Galvin expressed his concern, that this incident appears to be “another example of unprofessional police conduct resulting in the needless loss of life.”   He added; “There is no mystery surrounding conduct like this.” Citing the “Federal Report on Police Killings by the United States Department of Justice (2017), Galvin noted that three of the nation’s largest police departments were examined; Cleveland, Baltimore and Chicago. He noted that all three departments revealed high rates of excessive force, particularly against African Americans.   Each of the departments in the study lacked: adequate training, particularly in de-escalation techniques; effective supervision, behavioral intervention programs and competent oversight. The root cause of these deficiencies, in all three cases, was inept Department leadership, due largely to neglect or interference by the Mayors and City Councils in those municipalities. Galvin suggested that these same factors should be closely examined in this case. He noted that “ the failure to ensure safe, effective and constitutional policing in a community places not only the community at risk, but the police officers as well. Incidents such as these, undermine the efforts of those officers, who perform their duties properly often making them targets for retribution.”

Galvin said that “all Americans deserve effective, professional policing”, adding that the political leadership in this nation has an obligation to provide it. He noted however, that history unfortunately reveals this duty is often ignored in favor of preserving political power structures. Galvin cautioned that “until there is a firm resolve to reform policing, we can unfortunately expect other incidents like the one we have witnessed in Minneapolis.”


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