Rebellions, protests, and more have sparked across the nation since the death of George Floyd at the hands of members of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Friday (May 29), the arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, who placed his knee in the neck of Floyd was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
With elevated tensions across the Minneapolis area, along with additional cities of civil unrest, Florida congresswoman and Democratic potential vice-president candidate Val Demings, has one question for police officers: “What in the hell are you doing?”
Congresswoman Demings is a former police chief in Florida and penned an op-ed in The Washington Post addressing her “brothers and sisters in blue.”
Speaking on her experience in the Orlando Police Department, which started when she was 26-years-old, Demings illustrated a feeling of stress, both mental and physical as she entered and operated under the desire to “protect and serve.” Demings cites the responsibility of serving her community and responding to people in need, not reckless behavior that has smeared police and public relations online.
“Think before you act!,” Demings writes. “Remember, your most powerful weapon is the brain the good Lord gave you. Use it!
“We all know that the level of force must meet the level of resistance. We all can see that there was absolutely zero resistance from George Floyd. He posed no threat to anyone, especially law enforcement,” she added.
Throughout the nation calls for an adjustment to policy and practices of the police force are called for, sentiments that are echoed by Demings. “As a nation, we must conduct a serious review of hiring standards and practices, diversity, training, use-of-force policies, pay and benefits (remember, you get what you pay for), early warning programs, and recruit training programs,” she wrote.
Speaking with The Source in April, Demings highlighted the efforts to bring assistance to Black and Brown communities as they have been left out in previous efforts.
“We need to stop leaving Black and Brown communities out. If we are going to change communities around we have to make them whole again. We got to create economic development, we got to make sure we give the best education regardless of what zip code you come from,” she said. “We got to make sure we give people the foundation and put them in an environment where they won’t have a choice but to make better decisions.”
You can read watch the full interview here. The entire Op-Ed is available here.