Seven Minneapolis police officers have quit as the future of the city’s entire police department is uncertain after the death of George Floyd.
It is unclear if their leaving has anything to do directly with Floyd.
The department sent a statement to Minneapolis radio station WCCO saying “People seek to leave employment for a myriad of reason. The MPD is no exception. Due to these employment separations, we have not noted any indicators that would impact public safety.”
But several officers have told the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper that they are upset by Mayor Jacob Frey’s decision to abandon the city’s third precinct during the Floyd protests two weeks ago.
Officers were ordered to leave that section of the city and their precinct house was burned.
“If we decided to continue to hold the 3rd Precinct there very likely would have been hand-to-hand combat, likely serious injury and maybe death, and in the decision between a building and life-or-death we decided to evacuate,” Frey has said.
All 12 city council members said in a resolution last week that they intend to dismantle the city’s police department and replace it with “a transformative new model for cultivating safety” in the city -- the details of which are unclear.
Fourteen police officers, who say they are speaking for the hundreds in the department of officers, have written an open letter to the people of Minneapolis, condemning the policeman who kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, which allegedly contributed to Floyd's death.
“We wholeheartedly condemn Derek Chauvin. We Are With You in the denouncement of Derek Chauvin’s actions on Memorial Day, 2020. Like us, Derek Chauvin took an oath to hold the sanctity of life most precious. Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are,” the letter states.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and three other officers with aiding and abetting.
Also in Minneapolis, the city’s parks department says they have no plans to fix a sign at a city park which an anonymous person altered to pay tribute to George Floyd.
The sign at the entrance to George Todd Park – named for a former city alderman – now reads “George Floyd Park” with a large decal plastered over the name Todd.
The city park is about five kilometers south of where Floyd died.
In Seattle, Police Chief Carmen Best says she hopes officers can move back into a section of the city taken over by peaceful protesters without resorting to “something that devolves into a force situation.”
Chief Best appeared on CBS television’s Face the Nation Sunday.
Anti-racist protesters have peacefully occupied a four-block part of the city which they’ve named “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” Organizers say they want a neighborhood without police. A huge “Black Lives Matter” mural covers the area’s main thoroughfare.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called the occupiers “ugly anarchists” and said the city should “take back” the zone.
But Mayor Jenny Durkan last week likened the zone to “a block party atmosphere” and no threat to the public but said it will be restored to the city at some time.
A Chicago Sun Times newspaper report says 75% of those arrested for violating a citywide curfew imposed over the Floyd protests were African American. The curfew ended June 7.
A Chicago police spokesman denies any implication that race had anything to do with the arrests, saying curfew enforcement was “universal” and equally enforced in all neighborhoods.
Anti-racism marches inspired by George Floyd's death continued all weekend in some large European cities.
Demonstrators in Berlin formed a nine-kilometer long chain that began at the Brandenburg Gate.
Protesters in Milan painted the words “rapist” and “racist” on a statue honoring the late Italian journalist Indro Montanelli who had once admitted marrying a 12-year-old girl in Eritrea when it was an Italian colony more than 80 years ago.
In Paris, it was the police who protested against what they say are unfair accusations of racism and brutality.
Shortly after 15,000 people demonstrated in the French capital, about 50 officers and their police cars surrounded the Arc de Triomphe.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday “racist thuggery” has no place in British streets after right-wing extremists attacked protesters against racism. About 100 people were arrested.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan blamed the violence solely on the right-wingers and he thanked police for doing a “fantastic job” in restoring order.
Also Sunday, hundreds marched through Tokyo, holding banners reading “Black Lives Matter”.
“I think it is so wrong to discriminate based on appearance, and I wanted to relay the message that the American people have allies in Japan,” said one young marcher, condemning what some Japanese say is occasional police harassment of dark-skinned foreigners.
Thousands also demonstrated Sunday in New Zealand and took a knee for a moment of silence for George Floyd in front of the U.S. consulate.