Knoxville mayor, police chief condemn officers in death of George Floyd


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas have released a joint statement condemning the actions of the Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd who died in police custody were fired Tuesday after a bystander’s video showed the man pleading that he could not breathe as a white officer knelt on his neck.

Floyd’s death has sparked protests across the country. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has called for criminal charges against the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck. Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy has been commended for his viral tweet condemning the actions of the officers.

“We are outraged by the brutal actions of the officers involved in the death of George Floyd. We condemn this egregious behavior and will work tirelessly to make sure nothing like this ever happens in our community.”

Knoxville city leaders in joint statement

“I understand that incidents like this undermine a community’s trust in those who are supposed to protect and serve them. They challenge all of us to acknowledge racism and work actively against it, at all levels of government and in all corners of our communities. While this happened hundreds of miles away, Chief Thomas and I are committed, here in Knoxville, to continue to take proactive measures to make sure officers are properly trained and understand this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Chief Thomas echoed the Mayor’s statements and added, “I was deeply disturbed and appalled by the events that led to the death of George Floyd, and condemn the actions and inactions of the former Minneapolis police officers that resulted in this unimaginable and entirely avoidable tragedy. Those former officers have left an indelible stain on the badge of every officer who continues to work toward the betterment of their community every single day. The conduct exhibited is neither taught nor accepted in our profession, and it severely undermines the strides law enforcement agencies across the country have made to earn the trust of their communities.

“I commend the immediate action taken by Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo to terminate those officers. Police officers have a foundational duty and responsibility to treat all individuals with dignity, decency and respect, and must be held accountable when they fail in that basic principle of public service. Behavior that does not represent the values of the profession or serve to improve the well-being of the community should never be tolerated.

“The Knoxville Police Department will continue to hold its officers to the highest ethical standard, provide the training necessary to ensure the best possible outcome in all scenarios, and work with the community to build and maintain a relationship of trust and mutual understanding.” 

Mayor Kincannon and Chief Thomas say officers will continue to be trained thoroughly in human relations, cultural diversity, ethics in policing and de-escalation tactics, both during the Recruit Academy and throughout their careers. 

The money to implement and maintain body cameras for KPD officers was recently approved by City Council. Steps continue to be taken to get the cameras “on the street” as soon as possible.

“Putting my support behind bodycams was one of my first major actions as Mayor, and I will continue to put public safety as the top priority of my administration. We hear the concerns of our community. Everyone in Knoxville, no matter their skin color, has a right to feel safe and to be treated fairly and humanely.” 

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon

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