Tuesday 7 July, 2020

USVI Police Commissioner: Excessive force will not be tolerated

George Floyd.

George Floyd.

US Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor has condemned the actions of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, which led to the death of George Floyd.

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In an Opinion Editorial on Sunday, Velinor said he had “a very difficult time watching the video of the senseless death of another black man. Law enforcement has a responsibility to serve and protect even those suspected of wrongdoing. The position and uniform do not give us the authority to act reckless.”

He said police officers are trained to observe and assess situations and they have a duty to call out their peers when they are not adhering to what is right. Velinor stated the Minneapolis Police Department was right to fire all of the officers involved in Floyd’s death and the nation must let the justice system run its course.

Velinor noted the knee to neck technique used by Chauvin is not utilized or sanctioned by the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD).

“We teach techniques that are recognized and endorsed as best practices.  Anyone looking at the video can surely see that the force used in that situation was unnecessary and the officers missed all the signs to protect and better serve Mr Floyd,” Velinor said.

“As the Commissioner of VIPD, I assure our community that my expectation is that officers use those techniques they are trained to utilize, and that excessive force is not tolerated.”

The Commissioner added any member of the public can report police officers to the Internal Affairs Unit once they believe excessive force was carried out during an incident.

Floyd’s death has triggered several days of fiery protest across the United States, and around the globe, as citizens demand justice and an end to police mistreatment of African Americans.

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