Medaria Arradondo, the chief of police for the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, apologized to the family of George Floyd during a press conference on Thursday, CBS News reported. Arradondo acknowledged the pain Floyd’s family was enduring and admitted that his department had contributed to their pain and the city’s “deficit of hope.”
“I am absolutely sorry for the pain, the devastation and trauma that Mr. Floyd’s death has left on his family, his loved ones, our community in Minneapolis, and certainly across the country and the world,” Arradondo said.
Arradondo also addressed the protests that turned violent Wednesday night, per CBS News. He stated that he supported protests and vigils that were being conducted peacefully. The Police Chief promised that he would make sure that people could still publicly gather to peacefully express their collective anger and grief over Floyd’s death.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo says that while he will "ensure" protesters can "express their First Amendment rights" after the death of #GeorgeFloyd, he cannot allow "criminal" acts like looting essential services pic.twitter.com/9uUWB8NTXA
— Shakthi Vadakkepat (@v_shakthi) May 28, 2020
According to CBS News, Arradondo went on to say that though he understands the anger that protesters feel, they cannot be allowed to engage in criminal activity, especially criminal activities that put people at risk and damage property. He stressed that his duty is to keep the residents of Minneapolis safe, which means intervening when actions taken by protesters may harm the community.
Overnight on Wednesday, peaceful protests turned violent as protesters looted stores, set fire to local businesses, and smashed windows in buildings throughout the town, including the police department. Arradondo told reporters that some officers were hurt during the protests but did not give details, CNN reported.
The police chief did say that he didn’t believe the people who incited the violence were local to Minneapolis. According to CBS News, he said that though most people were protesting peacefully, there was “a core group of people causing some destruction,” and he noted that the people perpetrating the violence were not known to Minneapolis police.
Philonise Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers, spoke out on Thursday, saying that he doesn’t think violent protests help the situation but that he does understand why they’re happening.
“I want everybody to be peaceful right now, but people are torn and hurt, because they’re tired of seeing black men die,” he told CNN. “These officers (involved in George’s arrest) need to be arrested right now… and held accountable about everything because these people want justice right now.”
According to CNN, the Hennepin County Attorney, Michael Freeman, told reporters that his office needs more time to examine all the evidence before they can bring charges against the officers involved in Floyd’s death. He begged the residents of Minneapolis to be patient, insisting, “We have to get this right.”