Jun 1, 2020
Transcript: George Floyd’s Family Asks Minneapolis Police Chief Questions on Live TV Via Reporter
George Floyd’s family asks Minneapolis Police Chief Arradando Questions on live TV via a CNN reporter. Read the transcript of his responses here.
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We’re at 38 in Chicago right where George Floyd lost his life. The police chief showed up here. Chief, you came here to do what? We watched you walk up to this Memorial. What did you come here to do today?
Chief Arradando: (00:16)
I came to pay my respects to Mr. Floyd, and I came to just offer prayer for his loved ones, his family, and our community that’s hurting. I grew up about a block from here, and this has been so impactful for me, for this department, but for our city, but I also wanted to be in the space where people who love Mr. Floyd, I wanted to be in space where people are talking about how do we heal, and how do we move from this? And so, it’s going to take time, and everyone here is trying to do the best that they can to offer what their feelings, and those are all valid, but I just needed to be here in this space today and offer my respects.
Let me ask you about what happened with officer Derek Chavez. First off, he had 18 complaints filed against him. 16 of those complaints were declined. They did not do anything to him. Two of those complaints he did get censure. Should he have been on the force in the first place?
Chief Arradando: (01:30)
Well, we need to absolutely look at the record of those types of complaints that officers or police get throughout. There’s all types of other things that come into play in terms of whether it’s grievances, and arbitration’s, and those things, but at the end of the day, our community members need to know that the men and women that put this badge on that they are doing so in service to them, and they should not have to doubt. They should not have to doubt integrity, and if they’re going to be treated in a compassionate and professional way, and so, those are things that as we move forward, we need to get better in terms of this profession, absolutely.
Can I ask you why you decided, I have not seen this happen this quickly before in past cases. I have covered many, many protests around the world, including what happened in 2014, in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri. Why did you decide that firing the officers would happen as quickly as it did? Many departments do not fire officers that fast.
Chief Arradando: (02:30)
There are absolute truths in life. We need air to breathe. The killing of Mr. Floyd was an absolute truth that it was wrong, and so, I did not need days, or weeks, or months, or processes, or bureaucracies to tell me that what occurred out here last Monday, it was wrong.
I want to ask you what you thought when you saw the video that we all saw of Mr. Floyd on the ground, his face smashed into the ground, gulping almost like a fish out of water with Chavez’ knee on his neck for more than seven minutes. What did you see? What did that do to you as the chief, seeing your officer on top of this man?
Chief Arradando: (03:20)
There was a visceral reaction. I will just say that I was emotional. Shortly after I saw that I put a call out to our local black ministers, activists and leaders. We met that morning, and I asked them to start with prayer, because that’s what we needed, and that’s what I needed. It was an emotional… it was a reaction that I’ve never experienced in my career, never experienced in my career.
So many times officers are fired, and they get their jobs back with the help of the union. They end up getting paid out by the city. Do you see that happening to these four officers in the case that you fired?
Chief Arradando: (04:07)
That’s going to be a process down the road. All I can be responsible is for the power that I had, which is an employment matter decision, and so, I felt that I made the right decision.
Why did you fire them though? Was this an absolute violation of guidelines and policy?
Chief Arradando: (04:21)
Listen, in my mind this was a violation of humanity. This was a violation of the oath that the majority of the men and women that put this uniform on, this goes absolutely against it. This is contrary to what we believe in, and so, again, what occurred to me, it was an absolute truth that it was wrong, period.
The Floyd family happens to be on live with us talking to Don Lemon. Is there anything that you would like to say to this family who is in utter despair, and grief right now?
Chief Arradando: (04:57)
I would say to the Floyd family that I’m absolutely, devastatingly sorry for their loss, and if I could do anything to bring Mr. Floyd back, I would do. I would move heaven and earth to do that, so I’m very sorry. I’m very sorry.
Thank you so much. I appreciate your time chief. I appreciate [inaudible 00:05:16].
Chief Arradando: (05:15)
People, you heard the chief, and you saw the chief take his hat off, and say that he absolutely is sorry for what happened-
Don Lemon: (05:29)
Hey Sarah, can do you do me a favor.
… to George Floyd-
Don Lemon: (05:31)
Can you get the chief? Is there any way you can get the chief back?
He said that to the family. Yes, I can Don, yes. Is there something you’d like me to ask?
Don Lemon: (05:40)
Yeah, I think the family may have a question or two for him. Can you just-
If the family wants to ask a question please, please, yeah. I’ll turn around. You tell me the question-
Don Lemon: (05:47)
… and I will turn to him, and ask him whatever you want.
Don Lemon: (05:49)
Thank you Sarah. I hate to cut off for now.
Whatever the Floyd family would like me to ask.
Don Lemon: (05:52)
Don Lemon: (05:53)
Do you have a question for the chief?
I can’t hear you.
Don Lemon: (06:03)
Felonus, do you have a question for the chief?
The question that I have, I want to know if he’s going to get me justice for my brother, arrest all the [inaudible 00:00:06:19].
Don Lemon: (06:20)
Can you hear him, Sarah?
Okay. I just want to make sure I’ve got this right. He wants to know if he is going to get justice-
Don Lemon: (06:29)
Justice for his brother, arrest-
Don Lemon: (06:31)
And, convict all the officers.
… the other officers, all the offices. I will ask him that question. Just give me one second.
Don Lemon: (06:38)
Chief. May I ask you? I’m so sorry, and I apologize. I’m so sorry [crosstalk 00:06:43].
Chief Arradando: (06:44)
I know, I’m so sorry, but the Floyd family actually has a question for you. They just talked to me in my ear. I’m sorry. The Floyd family is asking me a question. I apologize. I’m sorry. The Floyd family has asked if you are going to get justice for George Floyd by making sure that the other officers are arrested, and that eventually convicted. They want, and I know that there are things that you cannot control, but they want to know if the other officers should be arrested in your mind, and if you see that they should all four be convicted in this case?
Chief Arradando: (07:19)
And, this is the Floyd family right now?
This is the Floyd family.
Chief Arradando: (07:22)
To the Floyd family, being silent or not intervening to me, you’re complicit, so I don’t see a level of distinction any different. Obviously, the charging and those decisions will have to come through our county attorney’s office. Certainly, the FBI is investigating that, but to the Floyd family, I want you to know that my decision to fire all four officers was not based on some sort of hierarchy. Mr. Floyd died in our hands, and so, I see that as being complicit. That is about as much as I, and I apologize to the Floyd family if I am not more clear, but I don’t see a difference in terms of the ultimate outcome is, he is not here with us, and that’s the [crosstalk 00:08:10].
You don’t see a difference between what officer Chavez did, and the three other officers, some of who kneel down as well, but some of whom just watched. You see that all as the same act.
Chief Arradando: (08:21)
Silence and inaction, you’re complicit. If there were one solitary voice that would have intervened and act, that’s what I would have hoped for. Unfortunately-
That’s what you would have expected from your officers, yes?
Chief Arradando: (08:38)
… Absolutely, and that did not occur, so to the Floyd family, that’s my response.
Thank you so much [crosstalk 00:08:45].
Don Lemon: (08:43)
And, Felonus, do you have another question? What’s your response to Felonus?
They arrest guys every day. They had enough evidence to fire them, or they have enough evidence to arrest them. I don’t know who he’s talking to, but I need him to do it, because we all are listening. Black lives matter.
Don Lemon: (09:13)
Sarah, that was an incredible interview that you did, and it was the first time, hang on Sarah. You haven’t spoken to anyone at the police department. I’m not sure, Felonus, correct me, if I’m wrong, have you spoken to them directly? So, that was really the first interaction that you’ve had with the police department since your brother’s death? Sarah, in the course of this broadcast, we have been able to connect the family with the police department through your interview…
Right, for the first time, I can’t tell you Don, what that’s doing to me to hear them have this conversation through me, to the chief, sorry, to hear the pain in the Floyd family’s voice, and to have to convey that. I hope that I did the right thing for them, because I know that they are hurting so badly, but I do want to recognize that when the police chief every time I said that the Floyd family has a question for you…
Chief Arradando: (10:26)
He took his hat off.
He took his hat off, so he wanted to make sure to be respectful, and I know that they are angry. I know you are angry, and I know you are hurting, and I know it’s not enough. You cannot bring George Floyd back, but you heard what he said, that each and every officer who did not speak up against what was happening is complicit. This is the police chief saying that, this is the police chief. Don, have you ever heard that before in your life? I have not. In all of the 12 years I have covered so many protests across the world, and I have never seen a police chief say this, but I know it doesn’t cure the ills that the Floyd family is dealing with, and that all the people in this neighborhood are dealing with right now. I hope, and pray that I was able to convey what they wanted to the chief in this first time being able to hear from the chief directly their questions, their concerns.
Don Lemon: (11:30)
Sarah, I think you’re right. I think that chief Arradando deserves a lot of credit for doing [inaudible 00:11:34]. As we know, it’s not the chief’s role to convict them, but he did speak out about what he thinks. He said that silence is complicit.