Local leaders, police react to killing of Minnesota black man George Floyd

MIAMI (WSVN) - Officials with South Florida organizations and law enforcement agencies are weighing in on the killing of a black man in Minnesota following an encounter with four police officers.

Cellphone video showing a police officer pressing his knee against George Floyd’s neck while taking him into custody in Minneapolis has ignited calls for justice in the wake of Floyd’s death, Monday night.

“To watch that guy’s face, to put his knees on another guy’s head until he stops breathing?” said a local resident.

Other South Floridians are at a loss as they grapple with the actions of the officers, who have since been fired from the force.

“I watched Channel 7. I see that, and my grandson looked and said, ‘Why?'” said another local resident.

Floyd’s death has also led to protests and looting throughout parts of Minneapolis, as pressure mounts for the officers involved to be charged with murder.

The Circle of Brotherhood hosted an event at a Northwest Miami-Dade community center.

Melba Pearson, a civil rights attorney, said, “The pain and the trauma that many people of color are feeling right now, may be unfathomable to our allies.”

On Thursday, City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina addressed the incident.

“If you’re a police officer, and you see that, and your thinking is, ‘Well, but what happened beforehand,’ or, ‘We haven’t seen all the videos,’ then you need to recognize right now that that doesn’t matter,” he said.

Sherita Small, a Miami resident, said, “As black people, we are angry. So I’m not condoning what’s going on, I’m not condoning any of that, but George Floyd, that could be one of my sons.”

Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, also spoke at the community center.

Fulton said, “I don’t have anything against police officers. I do have something against bad officers.”

Florida International University Police Officer Delrish Moss also discussed the matter. He became chief of police for Ferguson, Missouri a couple years after protests broke out when a police officer shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown.

On Facebook, Moss wrote, “To be a police officer, you must have the moral authority to serve. No one was served on that day. What happened there was wrong.”

Lyle Muhammad, the executive director of the Circle of Brotherhood, said he was deeply shaken by Floyd’s death.

“It hurts, just like it’s my own child,” he said.

Muhammad’s organization works with South Florida police officers and provides the training he believes will prevent racial profiling and deaths like Floyd’s.

Muhammad said South Florida has seen its share of tragedy blamed on racial profiling, most recently a disturbing lie associated with the drowning of 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley and the accusation his mother made as she allegedly tried to cover up her son’s death.

“The woman who just unfortunately killed her child and pointed the finger in the direction of black men, that’s what we’re going to address,” he said.

Muhammad and police officers across South Florida are set to come together on Friday to talk about the work they’re doing to bridge the gap between law enforcers and the community.

“We don’t have to be like in the ‘Twilight Zone,’ going back through the same door and experiencing the same things,” said Muhammad.

The Circle of Brotherhood will be holding a news conference with Miami Police on Friday at 11 a.m. to discuss new initiatives they’ve come up with to help improve the relationship between police agencies across South Florida and the community.

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