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Retired law enforcement in Central Texas say Minneapolis officers should be charged

George Floyd died on Memorial Day shortly after he was taken into custody in Minneapolis. During the arrest, a police officer placed his knee on Floyd's neck and the suspect complained he could not breathe.
George Floyd died on Memorial Day shortly after he was taken into custody in Minneapolis. During the arrest, a police officer placed his knee on Floyd's neck and the suspect complained he could not breathe.(KWTX)
Published: May. 28, 2020 at 2:31 PM CDT
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Several retired law enforcement officers on Thursday said the Minneapolis police officers who participated in the death of a man in custody there should be charged.

“I watched the whole tape several times and I can tell you what that officer did to his suspect was way out of line and not at all acceptable,” said Matt Cawthon, a retired Texas Ranger who served for more than 40 years.

Video recorded on Memorial Day in Minneapolis has gone viral. It shows a city police officer restraining George Floyd, 46.

Officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck and left it there for at least eight minutes.

The footage recorded by a bystander shows Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck as Floyd gasps for breath on the ground with his face against the pavement and the officer refuses to move even after Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and stopped speaking.

Floyd was pronounced dead when he reached the hospital.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said Thursday Chauvin should be charged in the death.

“It was absolutely in-excusable and never should have happened,” Retired Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

Retired Texas Ranger Johnny Aycock was even more pointed in his response: “That officer should have cuffed the suspect, sat him up and placed him in the back of his patrol car with another cop. That’s what I’d have done, and we wouldn’t have this mess,” Aycock said.

“And those other officers who were standing there watching that happen should have jumped in there, too,” said Cawthon.

“That officer handled himself poorly and his officer buddies didn’t do him any favors by not getting involved. His supervisor should have gotten involved in the very beginning,” Cawthon said.

“We train a lot to prevent that kind of thing from happening in the field and the training has worked,” Swanton said.

None of the three could remember a time when a suspect in custody in the area died while being processed.

“We’ve had several commit suicide in our jails and sometimes inmates kill other inmates, but we haven’t had a death like that that I can remember,” Aycock said.

Chauvin's attorney identified the other officers Wednesday as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.

In calling for charges, the mayor contrasted Floyd's death with others involving police that turned on split-second decisions by officers.

“We are not talking about a split-second decision that was made incorrectly," Frey said.

"There’s somewhere around 300 seconds in those five minutes — every one of which that officer could have turned back, every second of which he could have removed his knee from George Floyd's neck.”

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