More than a dozen Minneapolis police officers who say they represent hundred of others condemn the former officer charged with killing George Floyd. And they express support for policing reforms in an open letter released Thursday that is addressed to "Dear Everyone - but especially Minneapolis citizens."
"We wholeheartedly condemn Derek Chauvin," the letter states at the outset, and it goes on to denounce the now-fired officer's actions.
"Like us, Derek Chauvin took an oath to hold the sanctity of life most precious," the officers write, adding, "Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are."
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Floyd, 46, who died while in police custody May 25. Video filmed by bystanders shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, as he cries for help and tells Chauvin and three other officers on the scene that he can't breathe, before losing consciousness. Three other officers who were on the scene are charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder. The killing has sparked mass protests against police brutality and racial inequality in Minnesota and around the world.
The letter is signed by 14 officers but it says it expresses "what the vast majority of Minneapolis police officers feel at this moment."
"We are leaders, formal and informal, and from all ranks within the Minneapolis Police Department. We're not the union of the administration," the letter continues, adding that they represent the voices of hundreds of other officers.
"We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform and rebuilding," the officers tell the people of Minneapolis. "We are with you moving forward. We want to work with you and for you to regain your trust."
While the letter denounces Chauvin and his actions, it makes no mention of the two rookie officers who helped pin Floyd face down on the street, nor does it mention another officer who stood watch. All three have been arrested, charged and fired, along with Chauvin.
The 14 officers who signed the letter include former Minneapolis police union president John Delmonico. Several of the others are prominent detectives. They say the letter represents their statement "in whole," adding they will not making additional comments or giving interviews.