Rich Walker Sr., the first black director of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, battled CBS’ Gayle King on Tuesday morning concerning the host’s claim that black people feel “under siege” and are being “targeted” by white officers in Minneapolis, following the death of George Floyd.
“Let’s address the elephant in the room, how black people feel in your city, that black men are under siege by white police officers, and that they’re targeted in a disproportionate rate,” King said.
“I think, absolutely, the media’s push is to drum-up as much racial issues and stress as there is,” answered Walker, adding that he is not “denying the fact that the city needs to grow.”
An irritated King responded, “Is it a media problem, Rich, is this a media problem? The media created this?”
“What I’m saying is, the narrative that is being pushed in the media is that white police officers are out on these streets just to kill black men,” Walker told King, “and that is absolutely farthest from the truth.”
The union director noted that radical anti-cop activist group “Black Lives Matter” only seems to stress the black lives of those killed by officers, not all black lives.
“Yes, we have encounters with civilians in the city that turns for the worst, and that’s my actual problem with some of what ‘Black Lives Matter’ [stands for],” he said. “I actually believe in what ‘Black Lives Matter’ stands for, but it should stand all the time, not just when a police officer, or a white police officer, or an Asian police officer has a fatal encounter with an unarmed person.”
“We are not defending the actions of Officer [Derek] Chauvin,” he said of the officer at the center of the Floyd arrest, who has been charged with second-degree murder. “What happened to Mr. Floyd is a tragedy, but we weren’t out there.”
“What we’re saying is,” Walker continued, “the narrative needs to stop. It needs to stop. Police officers are not out here just randomly hunting black people to kill ’em.”
Floyd, who is black, died on May 25, following an arrest where an officer held his knee on the neck of the 46-year-old for over eight minutes. Footage of the incident surfaced online and sparked nationwide protests and riots.
In the same interview, Walker told Gayle he’s the “first African American ever elected to the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation in 152 years.”
“You know what I see?” he stated. “I see progress. We are progressing forward.”
Walker also commented on the available social media footage of the Floyd arrest (the union has reportedly been barred from viewing the body camera footage): “Any human being that watched that, knows that that shouldn’t [have] ended they way that it did,” he said. “But we also know that there is more to the story.”
“They say he never resisted in the statements released. We don’t know if he never resisted because we haven’t seen from the time the officer stopped him until the point he was on the ground,” he added.
WATCH (relevant comments begin at the 4:15-mark):
First on @CBSThisMorning: Leaders from the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis speak out about the death of George Floyd & calls for reform. Leaders call the video "horrific" but caution there could be "more to the story," urging the release of more video from the incident. pic.twitter.com/XzUb1W15ma
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 23, 2020
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