The week of the George Floyd death, Law Officer broke several stories. And we also questioned the lack of the body camera footage being released—and exposed how the neck restraint being used was approved in department policy. The hate and the vile messages sent our way was astronomical. Rather than focusing on the facts that we were providing, we were accused of everything from “justifying” the actions of the officers to racism.
The day after Floyd’s tragic death, Mayor Jacob Frey stood in front of the media. But he failed to tell the world everything about the incident, including some key facts that we had told our audience. For example, Mayor Frey failed to discuss the body camera footage, and failed to explain how the policy and actions performed by the officers was approved in policy—and aligned with a 2018 white paper and training materials about excited delirium that the officers received.
We were harsh on Mayor Frey, and saw his less-than-truthful remarks as a lack of leadership and a failure to tell the world what he knew. Because if there is any certainty in this case, Mayor Frey certainly knew about the “optics” as much as the policies and police training related to this case.
And as any reasonable person should, we should ask ourselves an important question: Could the truth have mitigated what ensued after the death of George Floyd?
Asking such a question won’t change the awful outcome. But when a politician and police chief knew so much more—including details that would give some context to what we all saw play out on TV and social media—it’s hard to not believe that even just a few more facts would not have helped in some way.
However, since Minneapolis is in many ways a home for cowardly leadership, it seems political leaders were holding back key facts and information, as though they refused to tell the American public about key details and the truth.
However, to help fill the void of leadership, we did tell some of the key facts. And despite the lack of transparency among the political leaders in Minneapolis, we did offer explanations about some key aspects of the policies and procedures involved in this incident (despite multiple coordinated attacks against our authors and against our website in the form of digital attacks designed to remove everything we were saying).
For example, we pointed out the text from the Minneapolis Police policy that was effective at the time of the George Floyd arrest:
And now five weeks later, some of the information we shared is coming to light. According to KARE11, Thomas Lane, one of the Minneapolis police officers who has since been arrested, filed a motion to dismiss the charges he faces in the death of George Floyd.
The motion includes 30 pages of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) training materials. And it specifically includes information about the “maximal restraint technique”—along with a photo of an officer with his knee to a suspect’s neck during a training exercise—similar to the hold used by former officer Derek Chauvin.
Well isn’t that convenient—especially when so-called police and political leaders seem overly concerned about transparency and accountability in policing and city government.
In his motion to dismiss, Lane’s attorney argued that Floyd continued to kick and yell as Lane held his legs, after Lane suggested using the maximal restraint technique. Specifically, the motion argued that “Officer Lane did not know there was a felony being committed or attempted when Chauvin was kneeling on Floyd.”
Further, the motion states that, “If in fact a felony was committed or attempted. The training material supports that neck restraint was something taught to officers (Exhibit 7). Lane is a trained police officer who, although new to the job, knew that officers are allowed to use reasonable force when needed. Id.3 Based on Floyd’s actions up to this point, the officers had no idea what he would do next – hurt himself, hurt the officers, flee, or anything else, but he was not cooperating.”
These are just some of the facts that so-called leaders aren’t telling us. Meanwhile, the media doesn’t seem to be asking many factual questions, such as “where is the police body camera footage?”
Unfortunately, it seems the facts have all been forgotten. And even worse, it seems the facts are being concealed.
While many seem unconcerned about the one piece of evidence that would tell the complete story about this incident—the video footage from Officer Lane’s and Officer Kueng’s body cameras—this evidence was filed in today’s motion. But for some reason, the state court website did not list these items as exhibits.
So let’s be clear. As we’ve been saying all along, the court should make the police body camera video public—so the world can see exactly what happened. But without any explanation, the court received this evidence, but did not make the recordings publicly available on Wednesday.
Fortunately, such maneuvers just “kick the can,” and at some point, there will be a time when so many questions about this case will demand answers. And hopefully, more of the truth will come to light—such as the 30 pages of police training materials and policies (which we spoke about five weeks ago).
At the end of all of this, one thing will be crystal clear.
This may be the failure of one or more “bad cops.” But the true failure that will come to light involves the politicians and police leaders who the citizens of Minneapolis entrusted to keep them safe.
And despite the media’s lack of morals and courage, hopefuly the lies, omissions, and manipulations of mainstream news and social media will come to light as well.
Today (July 8, 2020) was just the beginning.