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Virginia school district probes image evoking Floyd arrest to celebrate team win

Virginia school district probes image evoking Floyd arrest to celebrate team win
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A Virginia school district has launched an investigation into an image posted on social media of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck that had been edited to celebrate a local high school football team’s recent win. 

Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Ken Nicely condemned the image in a statement Monday. According to The New York Times, the image showed the Cave Spring High School logo on Chauvin’s face, while the Hidden Valley High School logo was edited onto Floyd’s face. 

The photo was initially posted on social media by a Cave Spring football player after the team’s win against Hidden Valley on Friday, and was subsequently shared by a “handful of other students,” Nicely told the Times. 

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Nicely wrote in his Monday statement, “The abhorrent, disturbing images posted by individuals do not reflect the values of Cave Spring High School or Roanoke County Public Schools. We strive to provide positive, welcoming communities that value respect for all students and families.”

“Educating all students about respect and creating positive, inclusive learning environments is at the center of our Positive Behavior Interventions and Support program which we are in the final stages of rolling out in all of our schools,” he continued. “Education is a process, but we will hold individuals accountable for their actions.”

Nicely told the Times that administrators have spoken with the involved students since the district was notified of the post Saturday evening, and that the students have “all been very remorseful,” but added that they will still face consequences. 

Chuck Lionberger, a spokesman for the district, told the Times that other photos celebrating the team’s win that were posted on social media were “not related to George Floyd,” but were “equally as deplorable.”

Nicely said the Friday game was Cave Spring’s first win against Hidden Valley in 10 years, adding that following the social media post, Cave Spring will no longer play the remaining game that was scheduled for this season. 

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The incident comes amid Chauvin’s ongoing trial in connection with Floyd’s death. The former police officer faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

The trial, which officially started last week, has so far included emotional eyewitness testimony and repeated replaying of graphic footage showing the May 25, 2020, incident in which Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for roughly nine minutes before he died. 

Testimony from Minneapolis police officers criticizing Chauvin’s use of force in the incident dominated the trial for the second consecutive day on Tuesday

Sgt. Ker Yang, the police force’s crisis training coordinator, and Lt. Johnny Mercil, head of the department’s use of force training, both testified Tuesday that Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck was not an appropriate response in line with department training.