A police chief’s take on police violence.

On Thursday I am doing a live interview with Kristen Ziman, the retired police chief of Aurora, Illinois.

Last week’s email (which can be found HERE), was her account of the mass shooting that happened a few years ago in Aurora.

I have always appreciated Chief Ziman’s ability to speak openly and honestly about tough topics, without blindly following the standard “Liberal” and “Conservative” tribes. 

She supports law enforcement AND she thinks law enforcement can be made better.

What follows is a lightly edited excerpt from Chief Ziman’s newly released book, Reimagining Blue:  Thoughts on Life, Leadership, and a New Way Forward in Policing.

Warning:

I have not removed cuss words or depictions of violence

because police violence deserves full honesty.


On the now-infamous video, I heard George Floyd tell Officer Chauvin that he couldn’t breathe sixteen times.  A bystander was telling Floyd to get up and get in the car, and Floyd continued to say, “I can’t.”  

Chauvin never took his knee off of Floyd’s neck even after he went unconscious. 

Floyd wasn’t actively resisting, and bystanders were screaming that Floyd was not moving. 

Chauvin still kept his knee firmly on Floyd’s neck until he took his last breath.

I remember watching the footage and asking myself, “What in the actual fuck?” 

Nothing that I saw warranted the actions taken by the officers that day. 

I’m still unclear why they removed Floyd from the squad car in the first place. 

Nothing in the police training manual allows for this excessive use of a restraint. 

The only time an officer may use deadly force in such a manner is if that officer or another is at risk of being seriously harmed or killed. 

None of that was happening. 

Floyd died under the knee of a cop. 

Nay, Derek Chauvin murdered a man in broad daylight giving zero care or concern for his welfare. 

After watching the video, I… [sent] a tweet:  “Resisting suffocation is not resisting arrest.  People of color are outraged.  White people are outraged.  Any cop who doesn’t feel the same should get out of our profession.”    …

One of the greatest flaws in my profession is the inability to objectively assess the actions of a fellow cop…

Due process is one thing, but blind loyalty is something else.  Until that changes, nothing in policing will change. 

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