A group of retired Philadelphia police officers apologized Friday for a Thursday fund-raising email that blamed George Floyd for his own death and claimed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on “trial for a murder he did not commit.”

Protect Our Police PAC said it fired a national marketing firm that sent the plea for donations, calling it “tactless messaging” that “does not reflect the values or views” of the group.

“Chauvin’s actions were examples of bad policing and poor training that directly caused George Floyd’s death, in my opinion,” Protect Our Police president Nick Gerace said in an email. “The kind of messaging and innuendo included in that single email is not in line with our mission, and I vehemently denounce it.”

The group was launched last year to challenge Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s bid for a second term this year and to support candidates around the country seen as pro-police.

Protect Our Police PAC was expected to support Carlos Vega, a former veteran homicide prosecutor, in his Democratic primary challenge against Krasner. But Vega, after reading Thursday’s email, said he didn’t want the group’s backing.

“The views expressed in this email run counter to my beliefs and my record,” Vega said in Friday’s Clout column. “George Floyd was murdered. And we need to hold bad cops accountable, not make excuses for their behavior.”

Chauvin, now on trial, knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest last May, according to prosecutors. His death set off protests across the nation and a reckoning about systemic racism and policing.

Thursday’s email inaccurately blamed Floyd for his own death, declaring: “Let’s get one thing clear: George Floyd tested positive for COVID-19 and was high on a lethal dose of fentanyl when he died.”

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, listing the cause as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.”

Heart disease, hypertension, fentanyl intoxication, and recent methamphetamine use were cited as “other significant conditions” for Floyd but not as a cause of his death.

The group’s fund-raising pitch also decried “unhinged radical cop haters,” accused Black Lives Matter of profiting from Floyd’s death, claimed the “mainstream media” was hiding the truth, and that Protect Our Police PAC “is leading the counterassault against the calls for kangaroo courts, double-standards, and slander against police officers in our country.”

“Not all cops are bad or bastards,” Gerace wrote Friday. “There are almost 800,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S. and the vast majority serve the public with distinction and integrity. However, there can be bad police officers and there are certain reforms that are necessary to increase the overall safety of our community and our law enforcement.”

Krasner, a career defense and civil rights attorney, won office in 2017 while running as a criminal justice reformer. He has clashed repeatedly with the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, which has given Vega $25,200 in campaign donations since December.

Krasner is now campaigning by linking Vega and the FOP to Protect Our Police PAC and former President Donald Trump.

The local FOP has given Protect Our Police $80,000 since last summer.

Protect Our Police PAC raised $738,000 in 2020, with $500,000 coming from Republican megadonor Timothy Mellon, who also gave $20 million last year to a political action committee trying to help former President Donald Trump win a second term.

Mellon, who also donated $50 million to two other groups boosting Republicans in House and Senate races, self-published a 2015 autobiography that described Black people as “even more belligerent” due to social welfare programs, which he called “slavery redux.”