Boston police sergeant put on leave amid investigation into conduct during George Floyd protests

Boston police sergeant put on leave amid investigation into conduct during George Floyd protests
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A Boston police sergeant was put on leave amid an investigation into law enforcement's conduct during protests against racial injustice and the death of George Floyd.

The move comes after The Appeal published footage of officers’ conduct during the protests over the summer.

The footage reportedly shows officers threatening demonstrators and using excessive force, NBC News reported.

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Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said in a statement on Friday that he ordered the Bureau of Professional Standards to conduct a “thorough and fair investigation into this matter, and the totality of circumstances involved.”

“I have placed a Sergeant involved in this incident on administrative leave and I will take any additional action as necessary at the conclusion of the investigation,” Gross said. “I want to encourage people to bring these matters to our attention so that we can investigate them appropriately.”

Gross did not identify the sergeant who was placed on leave.

The Appeal, "a non-partisan, mission-driven media organization" that covers the economy, politics and policy,  published body camera footage from protests that took place from May 31 to June 1 obtained from an attorney representing some of the demonstrators.

The videos reportedly showed officers allegedly targeting nonviolent demonstrators for possible arrests, discussing using cars as weapons and use of chemical agents. 

In a statement shared with The Hill, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh (D) said, “This footage is difficult to watch and begs answers to many questions that I expect to be answered through an Internal Affairs investigation.”

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“We never want to see police officers using more force than necessary, even when tensions are high,” he added.   

Meanwhile, Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association President Lawrence Calderone accused the attorney of “stitching together several contextually deficient video snippets”

“The reality-altering effort and insult aside, the fact remains, the violence and hatred perpetrated against our officers and our City that night will forever be engrained in the minds and memories of our officers and their families because of the damage done by the cop-hating anarchists and agitators who showed up to a peaceful protest armed for violence and looking for a fight,” Calderone said in a statement posted to Twitter.  

The footage comes as police conduct handling protests against police brutality over the summer has come under scrutiny in recent days. 

The New York City Police Department published an 111-page report on Friday, finding that local authorities used excessive force during protests that occurred in the city.

Nationwide protests erupted at the end of May this year after bystander footage captured in Minneapolis showed former officee Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes during his arrest.

Eventually, Floyd became unresponsive and was later pronounced dead.