By WSFA Staff | May 29, 2020 at 6:25 PM CDT – Updated May 29 at 7:52 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed held a press conference Friday to discuss the latest updates in regards to the coronavirus in Montgomery. But before he started, he wanted to hold a moment of silence.
“Given what has taken place nationally that we have a moment of silence for the death of George Floyd – for the killing of George Floyd,” said Reed.
It’s news that has grabbed the attention of the entire nation. Video shows a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, an act that led to the handcuffed man’s death.
“It’s important for us to understand the impact that is having beyond just his family, his friends, those who knew [Floyd], but what that action means for this country,” said Reed.
Reed pointed to Montgomery’s own history with racial strife and how it’s now home to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and about understanding the frustrations of the black community.
“Very disturbing to see that happens, and I think in this profession is that we’ve got to do due caution in everything that we do,” added Chief Finley. “But we have to get out in front of it and really let the community know where we stand when we have injustices like that, and again we’re gonna let the courts make that determination, but when we have a tragic situation like that the police department, myself, do not condone that type of action.”
Chief Finley also posted the following statement on Facebook:
The actions that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody are disconcerting. Neither the Montgomery Police Department nor I as its Chief, condone or pardon these types of actions. As we’ve reviewed events throughout the nation, we are constantly reminding our officers of restraint and tolerance when interacting with the citizens that we serve. Furthermore, we encourage our officers to serve with dignity and respect while acting in accordance to policies that protect constitutional rights. Those policies include our Use of Force Continuum which gives in-depth guidelines on routes officers should take prior to using lethal force. In addition, each sworn officer receives diversity training prior to graduating from the police academy. Lastly, we are relentlessly engaging the community through open dialogue while utilizing the clergy and community leaders to bring calmness during these difficult times.
Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley on death of George Floyd on Facebook
Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case. He and three other officers have been fired from the police department over the incident. More charges are possible.
Group in downtown Troy holds protest for George Floyd