(Reuters) - More than a dozen Minneapolis police officers on Thursday denounced the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd and said they were prepared to embrace “change, reform and rebuilding.”
The 14 officers wrote a letter that was posted on the website of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper and addressed, “Dear everyone.” It follows weeks of protests over the death of Floyd, 46, under the knee of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and a vote by city leaders to disband the police department.
“We wholeheartedly condemn Derek Chauvin,” the officers said in the letter. “Like us, Derek Chauvin took an oath to hold the sanctity of life most precious. Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are.”
Chauvin, 44, was arrested on May 29, four days after Floyd’s death. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other former Minneapolis police officers have been charged with aiding and abetting in the case.
The officers who signed the letter said that their sentiments were broadly held within the Minneapolis police department, which, according to local media, has about 890 officers. They described themselves as “not the union or the administration” but expressed support for Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Arradondo has faced calls for his resignation following the death of Floyd. Mayor Jacob Frey has opposed a vote by nine members of the city council to begin disbanding the department.
“We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform and rebuilding,” the 14 officers wrote. “We are with you moving forward. We want to work with you and regain your trust.”
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman