Mayor Kevin Faulconer, finishing his final term, watched San Diego results at the U.S. Grant Hotel. Photo by Chris Stone
Mayor Kevin Faulconer, in a public appearance in March. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Friday joined other local officials in condemning the actions of a group of former Minneapolis police officers that led to the death of a handcuffed black man.

The death of George Floyd has sparked protests across the country. On Friday his death also prompted Minnesota officials to announce murder charges against one of the officers.

Faulconer began his daily news conference, typically focused on COVID-19 updates, by calling Floyd’s death “a tragedy.”

He said he backed the San Diego Police Department in condemning the officers’ actions “in the strongest possible terms.”

Floyd, 46, died on Memorial Day after Officer Derek Chauvin pinned him face-down to the ground. He placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes, an encounter that a bystander captured on video. Floyd repeatedly said that he could not breathe.

Officials charged Chauvin, 44, with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest also may face charges. Prosecutors had not filed cases against them as of Friday evening.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired all four officers the day after Floyd’s death.

“It never should have happened,” Faulconer said. “George Floyd should be alive today. Those Minneapolis officers robbed him of his life. Their actions were wrong and this is unacceptable.”

Faulconer echoed sentiments expressed this week by San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. The chief issued a statement proclaiming that “our profession must do better.”

“We will continue to work tirelessly to build trust, establish clear policies, ensure consistent training, and maintain open and honest dialogue with our communities,” he pledged.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore also issued a statement Friday. He echoed Nisleit’s in saying law enforcement “must do better.” His department, he added, holds itself “to a very high standard,” and works to build trust with the community.

“Mr. Floyd’s death in Minneapolis is a harsh reminder of how the actions of a few can quickly erode that trust,” Gore said.

– City News Service