A Louisiana police officer has been placed on departmental leave after he called the police custody death of George Floyd a ‘common mistake and poor technique’ and ‘not murder’.
Shreveport Police Sgt. Brent Mason shared his views on Facebook Wednesday, commenting on an article about the black man who died after a white cop knelt into his neck for eight minutes as he pleaded for his life, repeating: ‘I can’t breathe, officer.’
Mason said he has been in the force for two and half decades and training for almost half that time as he described what he teaches cops.
‘I have been training police for over 12 years now and with more than 25 years of service… this is a common mistake and poor technique often made by police officers,’ Brent Mason began.
‘The knee is not supposed to go across the nape of the neck. Most common when the suspect is assisting by bucking or bridging. The knee had to [be] angled across the shoulder blades during handcuffing.’
Shreveport Police Sgt. Brent Mason (left) shared on Facebook Wednesday: ‘This is a common mistake and poor technique often made by police officers’> Mason wrote the death of George Lloyd (right) ‘misstep not an act of murder’
Mason added: ‘I feel that Minneapolis Police Department jumped the gun by arresting and firing the 4 officers’
Mason then claimed that Floyd, 46, likely had a health condition that made him at higher risk of dying from the technique.
He predicted, without evidence, that Floyd would may have died as a result of excited delirium – a condition that can be found in men with a history of mental illness and drugs abuse.
‘This was a mistake or misstep not an act of murder. Normally this mistake does not result in death,’ Mason continued.
‘The cause of death will be more likely to be positional asphyxia or excited delirium. This individual more than likely had health conditions and toxics in his blood. (no report yet).’
As protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis demanding that four cops from the MPD are charged with murder, Mason added that he thinks they’ve already been punished too harshly.
‘I feel that Minneapolis Police Department jumped the gun by arresting and firing the 4 officers,’ Mason wrote on Facebook. ‘Wow… where is the innocent until proven guilty!!?? Minnesota??’
He predicted, without evidence, that Floyd would may have died as a result of excited delirium – found in men with a history of mental illness and drugs abuse
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins (pictured) and Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond said in a press conference on Thursday that they both spoke to the cop on Wednesday and asked him to remove the post
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins and Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond said in a press conference on Thursday that they both spoke to the cop on Wednesday after they were directed to the post.
A fatal shooting and lawsuit for excessive force: What we know about the four officers fired for George Floyd’s arrest
In 2006 Derek Chauvin (pictured), 44, was one of six officers connected to the death of Wayne Reyes
The white police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck has already been investigated over three police shootings and a fatal car chase.
In 2006 Derek Chauvin, 44, was one of six officers connected to the death of Wayne Reyes.
Reyes, 42 was killed by officers after allegedly pulling a shotgun on the six cops, which included Chauvin.
Also that year he was named in a lawsuit filed by an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility. The case was dismissed in 2007.
Two years later Chauvin was investigated for his role in the 2008 shooting of Ira Latrell Toles during a domestic assault call.
Toles was wounded after police said he went for an officer’s gun and Chauvin shot him.
That same year Chauvin was handed a medal of valor for ‘his response in an incident involving a man armed with a gun.’
But in 2011 23-year-old Leroy Martinez was shot and injured during a chase given by officers including Chauvin.
Tou Thao (pictured), was part of a $25,000 out of court settlement after being sued for using excessive force in 2017
Tou Thao, was part of a $25,000 out of court settlement after being sued for using excessive force in 2017.
A lawsuit obtained by the DailyMail.com shows Thao was sued for using excessive force in arrest where he was accused of punching and kicking a handcuffed suspect ‘until his teeth broke’.
The remaining two officers have been identified as Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng.
Both were reportedly rookie cops who were still in their probationary periods, according to the StarTribune.
He did not name the officer but said an ‘individual made some comments that our community is very much up in arms about’.
They asked Mason to remove the post while they review their social media policy to see whether he flouted the rules.
The probe could take six to eight weeks.
But Raymond called the video ‘disturbing, to say the least’ and said personally he had never seen such use of force except in deadly instances.
‘I was an instructor at our police academy and taught use of force and defensive tactics as part of my daily duties during that time,’ Raymond explained. ‘I’ve never been taught, nor do I believe, that placing the knee on the back of somebody’s neck for an extended period of time is an acceptable or justifiable use of force, except in instance of deadly force.’
Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he lay handcuffed on the ground and not resisting as two other officers hold down the victim. Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng were also involved and were fired.
Raymond added that he found the actions of the MPD cops in the video ‘painful to watch’.
‘They are very insensitive, and in the words of my friend and the fellow mayor from Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, the actions of those officers in Minneapolis were completely unacceptable,’ the chief said. ‘Police officers’ duty is to serve and protect. Not only was the duty absent in their actions, but also an element of humanity was lacking.
‘To hear somebody cry out for help and say they can’t breathe and keep the knee on back of someone’s neck for over five minutes is painful to watch.’
The footage was obtained from a witness. The only bodycam footage that has been released was from a cop from the Minneapolis Park Police who arrived on the scene after the arrest and was 118 feet from Floyd so did not capture exactly what took place between the victim and police.
Now the Shreveport Police wants to renew a commitment to equip all of their officers with bodycams.
The already have some ‘but 90 body cameras doesn’t go very far when you have over 500 police officers’.
He said they would need funding of $2.9 million over five years – $2.1 million for the body cameras alone.
Shreveport also announced that from June there will be a new 22-member Commission on Race and Cultural Diversity, working on how to build trust between SPD and the community of color.
‘As I have proven over the last 18 months, I insist on leading an agency with integrity and putting the needs of citizens above all others. If a violation of our policies and more importantly a violation of the public trust occurs, then I will deal with it appropriately, as I have always done,’ he stated.
‘No doubt, tensions are high both nationally and locally as a result of years of distrust of policing methods and practices. Often times, as is the case today, incidents occur to further erode that trust and even if the incident was hundreds or even thousands of miles away, damage is done to the entire law enforcement profession and we in Shreveport are not immune.
‘We simply cannot move forward if we continue to tiptoe around one another and not have an action plan. We have worked hard to improve relationships between the Shreveport Police Department and the citizens of Shreveport. But many of the issues that we face today are historical in natures and have existed for over 100 years. We cannot erase history and we certainly cannot heal all wounds in the last 18 months.’
SHREVEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICY
Effective until February 2025:
A. Employees are reminded to exercise good judgment and demonstrate personal accountability when choosing to participate on social networking sites and other online forums.
B. No member shall represent him/herself, directly or indirectly, on the internet or in any public forum, as a member of the Shreveport Police Department, either by text, photograph, or image depicting the uniform, badge, or patch, in any manner that reflects a lack of good moral character, that may bring discredit to the department, or that may adversely affect the efficiency or integrity of the department.
C. No member shall post any material on the internet or in any public forum that may bring discredit to or adversely affect the efficiency and integrity of the department.
D. No sexual, violent, or racially, ethnically, or politically derogatory material, comments, pictures, artwork, video, or other reference may be posted along with any departmental reference or on any personal web page, social media site, or other internet posting that identifies the member as an employee of the City of Shreveport or Shreveport Police Department.
E. No employee shall use the internet or other public forum to disparage or harass another member of the department or any other citizen.
F. No member shall represent him/herself, directly or indirectly, on the internet or in any public forum, as a member of the Shreveport Police Department in an effort to promote or endorse any person, business, organization, charity, activity, or event, except for official City-sponsored or City-endorsed events. This provision does not restrict any member from sharing or copying any material posted on an official City or Department social networking site.
E. Employees should consider the possible adverse consequences of internet postings, such as future employment, cross-examination in criminal cases, and public, as well as private, embarrassment.
F. All employees shall treat as confidential the official business of the department.
G. No member shall post online or distribute to any person outside the department any photographs of undercover personnel, including sworn officers assigned to OSI.
H. No member shall post online or distribute to any person outside the department any photographs or video of any crime or accident scene.
I. Except as may be specifically authorized by SPD 606.03 ‘Media Relations/Information Requests,’ no member shall release, either directly or indirectly, information concerning crimes, accidents, or violations of ordinances and/or statutes to persons outside the department.
J. No member shall reveal any unauthorized information to any person not a member of the department or to any member of the department that is not authorized to receive such information.
K. Any member aware of or having knowledge of an Internet or public posting made in violation of this policy shall notify his/her supervisor immediately.
L. Posts deemed inappropriate, bringing discredit to this department or to a department member, or promoting misconduct, whether on- or off-duty, may be investigated through a criminal and/or administrative investigation.