(MADISON, Wis.) – Following the May 25 death of George Floyd, the executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA), Jim Palmer, issued this statement:
We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s friends and family. We recognize that this incident has been devastating, and our hearts go out to all those that mourn his passing.
Like many people throughout the nation, law enforcement officers in Wisconsin have seen the horrific video demonstrating the gross mistreatment of George Floyd at the hands of officers in Minneapolis. While we generally avoid drawing conclusions on the videos of police encounters, this incident offers compelling evidence of what occurred, and the WPPA’s role as an advocate for law enforcement officers in Wisconsin and for the profession demand that we speak to the truth of the matter.
The actions of the Minneapolis officers were outrageous, deplorable, and revolting, and would not satisfy the use of force standards and best practices employed by law enforcement in Wisconsin. The outright abuse inflicted upon George Floyd not only failed to meet the legal and professional standards that require officers to exercise force reasonably, it desecrated the most basic notions of human decency.
We see no justification for the officers’ actions in this case, and they represent an affront to the core values and principles upon which the law enforcement profession is founded. This incident not only makes the job of every law enforcement officer more difficult, it makes that job more dangerous as well. It undoes the good work that officers do and the strides that law enforcement has made to strengthen its relationships with the public it serves.
While we recognize that these sentiments alone cannot repair the hurt and pain that exists throughout our country, we believe these acknowledgments are nonetheless important to promote the changes that must occur in the months and years ahead. While the officers’ actions in the death of George Floyd are not representative of the law enforcement profession as a whole, it is an experience familiar to far too many people throughout our country. George Floyd deserved better, and law enforcement must do better to stand up for the high standards of conduct and fair treatment that every American deserves, and has every right to expect.
* * *