The staff and attorneys at Horwath Law are outraged by the horrendous
actions of the Minneapolis Police Department this week. On Monday
evening, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after
being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white police officer’s
knee. Mr. Floyd pleaded with officers for several minutes, repeating
over and over that he could not breathe. The incident was recorded by
a bystander and shared on social media early Tuesday, inciting
community anger.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey stated that the pinning technique used by
the officer was not permitted and was not a technique that officers
are trained on. Mr. Floyd’s death at the hands of the MPD is eerily
similar to the death of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 as a result of
a New York officer’s chokehold. Both men uttered the same words to law
enforcement prior to their deaths.

While the Minneapolis officers involved have been fired, the tragic
result of their actions cannot be undone. Police violence, harassment,
and assaults on persons of color happen far too often in our
communities. Just two months ago, officers in Louisville, KY stormed
the home of Breonna Taylor, an African-American EMT, and murdered her
in a botched investigation. In 2017, Kent Police stopped African-American man Giovann Joseph-McDade for having expired tabs. When Mr. Joseph-McDade attempted to drive away, officers shot and killed him. The department is currently being sued.

This level of tragedy and police racism may not make the news every
day, but it is ever-present in the daily lives of many people in our
community. As Criminal Defense Attorneys we are in a unique position to investigate and bring to light issues of police racism, brutality, and dishonesty. Over the years our investigations have discovered officers who have been disciplined for making racial slurs, for racial profiling during their
shifts, and for ignoring reports of bias incidents. Any racial bias on
the part of an officer is unacceptable, and as defense attorneys, our
job is to bring any type of discrimination to light. We must hold
officers accountable and push police agencies to reform. This must stop.