Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw on Thursday night issued her first public statement on the death of a handcuffed black man in Minneapolis police custody and how it has impacted her personally as the first African American woman to lead the Philadelphia Police Department.
Likening the death of 46-year-old George Floyd to an inhumane act and an atrocity, Outlaw said that those who work in law enforcement "earnestly to serve all communities with fairness and sincerity" have grown weary of their efforts being "stained" by such episodes.
“As a mother, I cannot relay enough the helplessness and sadness I feel when my sons, having been children of police officers their entire lives, relay to me that they fear for their lives because of the unjustified fear others have of them; solely due to their existence,” said Outlaw, who took command of department in January and previously served as the head of police in Portland, Ore.
“Throughout the nation, communities of color are tired of reliving atrocities such as this over and over again. They are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Outlaw said.
Floyd died Monday while being apprehended outside a Minneapolis convenience store after a report of a counterfeit bill being passed. A video of the arrest shows a white male officer kneeling on him with a knee on his neck while George pleads that he can’t breathe. Four officers involved in the arrest were fired soon after the video went viral and sparked another national firestorm over racism and police misconduct.
Outlaw said she applauds “the swift and certain response to this tragedy” by Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo.
“He has sent a clear message that this type of conduct, including by those who turn a blind eye, will not be tolerated in his ranks. I share Chief Arradondo’s sentiments, and will continue to work with all of our partner stakeholders to ensure that we are policing with fairness, transparency, and dignity for all communities,” Outlaw said.