"Silence and inaction — you're complicit," said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo on Sunday

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 01, 2020 09:20 AM
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The Minneapolis police chief condemned the actions of all four former officers fired after George Floyd's killing while addressing the slain man's family.

On Sunday night, Chief Medaria Arradondo spoke with CNN during the demonstrations following the death of Floyd, 46, who died last Monday while in police custody. In video of the unarmed victim's final moments, one officer was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck as three other officers stood by, even as Floyd said repeatedly he couldn't breathe and pleaded for the officer to stop.

All four officers were fired last week, and the officer seen with his knee on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on third-degree murder charges. The other three by-standing officers haven't been charged, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says charges against them area likely.

Chauvin has not yet entered a plea and it was not immediately clear if he has retained an attorney.

On air, Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, relayed through a reporter a question for Arradondo: Will the three other officers get charged?

Although the decision to charge the officers will be made by Freeman, Arradondo said, "Mr. Floyd died in our hands and so I see that as being complicit."

He added, "Silence and inaction — you're complicit. You're complicit. If there were one solitary voice that would have intervened ... that's what I would have hoped for."

Arradondo said he had "never experienced" anything like this case in his career, and viewing the footage of the encounter gave him a "visceral" reaction. He said the decision to fire all four officers was clearcut in his mind.

"There are absolute truths in life ... the killing of Mr. Floyd was an absolute truth that it was wrong," said Arradondo. "I did not need days or weeks or months or processes or bureaucracies to tell me that what occurred out here last Monday was wrong."

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo in 2018
Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

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At a press conference on Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that the other three police officers involved in Floyd's death are still under investigation. However, he added at the time "I anticipate charges" against the three officers.

Freeman said Chauvin's case represents the fastest time-span "by far" in which a murder charge has been brought against a Minneapolis police officer, saying such charges usually take nine months or more.

"We have to charge these cases very carefully because we have a difficult burden of proof," Freeman said.

When asked if public pressure, including protests in Minneapolis and beyond, had anything to do with the charges, Freeman said, "I am not insensitive to what's happened in the streets ... [but] my job is to do it only when we have sufficient evidence."

Philonise Floyd emotionally responded to Arradondo's comments on CNN by demanding justice for his late brother.

"We all are listening," said Philonise. "Black lives matter."