(CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas police chiefs are taking a public stance on the video of the in-custody death of George Floyd that has prompted protests in Minneapolis.
“I can’t breathe,” George Floyd repeatedly told an officer in the video before finally losing consciousness.
The officer is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, even as witnesses can be heard pleading with police to check his pulse.
About an hour later, Floyd was pronounced dead.
“We condemn the actions that led to the death of George Floyd,” said Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall in an interview with CBS 11 News. “Nothing about what we saw justifies a man dying with a knee at his neck screaming, ‘I can’t breathe.’ That is contrary to anything we teach.”
Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus joined in on Twitter.
“We must serve more compassionately, and intervene when we see our own acting inappropriately,” he wrote.
Lake Dallas Police Chief Dan Carolla said watching the video was difficult.
“It was disgusting and it was upsetting,” he said.
Speaking out, he said, was a risk — but one worth taking.
To be silent on an issue like this, he said, is to be complicit.
“We need to validate the people who have hard feelings about this and who are outraged by it. I think they need someone at the police level to come out and say, ‘You are right. You should be outraged, and we are outraged with you,'” Carolla said.
In Argyle, Police Chief Emmitt Jackson says he often waits to hear all sides of the story.
After watching the video, though, he said there was no explanation that could justify what he saw.
“It seemed particularly egregious to me,” he said. “Those officers had that individual subdued. He was compliant.”
Though he believes few officers would make such a mistake, he says it’s important to call them out when they do, letting the public know it is unacceptable.
“The best thing we can do as a law enforcement standpoint is to own our mistakes and try to take those positive steps to rebuild those bridges if we have in fact torn them down,” he said.