Rep. Demings, former police chief, urges review of police practices after death of George Floyd

Rep. Demings, former police chief, urges review of police practices after death of George Floyd
© Greg Nash

Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsGOP lawmaker: 'Pretty cool' Harris has a shot at being the 'most powerful person in the world' How Biden decided on Harris Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE (D-Fla.) bluntly posed a question to the country's law enforcement in a Washington Post op-ed Friday: "What in the hell are you doing?"

Demings's op-ed comes after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black Minneapolis man, died Monday after a white police officer knelt on Floyd's neck after arresting and handcuffing him. Video of the scene shows Floyd repeatedly saying that he couldn't breathe, but the officer didn't remove his knee from Floyd's neck, even after Floyd was unconscious. Floyd's death sparked national outrage and unrest across Minneapolis and other parts of the country.

Demings herself is a former police officer, serving as the Orlando Police Department's chief from 2007-11.

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"When citizens were in trouble (if they had to call the police, they weren’t having a good day), they called really believing that when we arrived, things would get better. That they would be safe," Demings wrote. "But we are painfully reminded that all too often, things do not get better. Matter of fact, they can get much worse — with deadly results."

She added, "We all know that the level of force must meet the level of resistance. We all can see that there was absolutely zero resistance from George Floyd. He posed no threat to anyone, especially law enforcement."

Demings wasn't finished, saying that the officers involved in Floyd's death must be "held accountable through the criminal-justice system."
 
The four cops who were involved have yet to be arrested, only adding to outrage around the country. The FBI has said that it will open an investigation regarding Floyd's death. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday in a press briefing that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE was being briefed on the situation by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHow would a Biden Justice Department be different? Joe Biden played it safe Kamala Harris: The right choice at the right time MORE.
 
"My heart goes out to the families of those who have lost loved ones. But we must also offer justice through full and swift accountability — not just for their loved one, but for the future," Demings said.

Continuing, she said, "The senseless deaths of America’s sons and daughters — particularly African American men — is a stain on our country. Let’s work to remove it. ... We have got to get this one right. Our communities, good police officers and generations yet to come deserve it."