I was in law enforcement for 42 years full time, the first 27 years as a Maryland State Trooper. Half of those years were in training. When I first saw the news reports and the film of the death of George Floyd I was shocked and saddened. Shocked because of how the officers behaved. Anyone placed face down and handcuffed behind their back can die from suffocation. This is “positional asphyxia” and is taught nationwide in the criminal justice community. When I later found out that the officers kept Mr. Floyd in this position for almost nine minutes, almost three of which he had no pulse, my only thought was the death was intentional.

To me this incident was obviously blatant and recognizable as an intentionally homicide. The grief was like the act itself, beyond our normal comprehension. I understand that bigotry exists in many police departments, but this was suffering that included torturing an individual until he died! The only way to describe it is pure hate.

With the death of Mr. Floyd, the chief of police did the right thing and fired all four officers. However, none of the officers were immediately charged with any crimes. If four men held a police officer down until he died, they would all be immediately charged. Finally, one officer was charged and then later all four faced criminal charges.

As horrific and depraved as Mr. Floyds death was, I have optimism that changes will occur. Citizens have been demonstrating, as they should. The demonstrations have evolved and are worldwide. The number of demonstrations and the diversity of those demonstrating is cause for hope. We have witnessed police officers and police chiefs participating in this process by standing and kneeling with the protesters.

Changes in the criminal justice system, including police behavior have been a continuing issue for a long time. The demonstrations and suggested changes, like abolishing choke holds are front page news. However, any suggested changes will not change anything unless the individuals responsible for depraved behavior are held accountable. When persons are accountable for their actions, then change will occur.

In the middle of a pandemic we are witnessing protest around the world because of the death of Mr. Floyd. Equality is more important to those protesting than the possibility of contracting a deadly virus. That is the world moving in the right direction.

“We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.” — Will Rogers

(17) comments

mrnatural1

Great LTE, made even more powerful because the author has over 4 decades in law enforcement.

The more LEOs we hear from, the better.

DickD

Great to hear from a man with all of that police service who really knows what he is talking about.

mamlukman

Excellent letter. My question has always been this: the actions of Derek Chauvin that day didn't appear out of nowhere. He didn't transform from a nice guy into a homicidal maniac in an instant. And the 18 formal complaints about him indicate he didn't. So this implies that other police turned a blind eye to his earlier activities. We need more police like the letter writer to step up and say "No, that's wrong, you can't do that." Unfortunately, as the Wash. Post pointed out recently, police who do that are given low ratings, fired, etc. No different than whistle blowers everywhere. Police everywhere should be in favor of getting rid of bad actors, no protecting them.

gabrielshorn2013

Very good LTE Mr. Bohrer. [thumbup] After he stopped resisting and was cuffed (which happened fairly quickly), he should have been immediately been allowed to sit up. There was no excuse for having a knee on his neck.

bosco

[thumbup] exactly, when the resisting stops, the need for the use of force is over. Fortunately, of the millions of encounters with police and the public, these sorts of outcomes are very rare. [ninja]

DickD

They talked for 30 minutes and Floyd was allowed to move his car. That is not; "fairly quickly".

gabrielshorn2013

Jeez, that's not George Floyd, Dick. smh... Floyd was arrested for allegedly passing counterfeit currency. He was taken to ground and handcuffed quickly. "Officer" Chauvin refused to get off of his neck despite requests from the onlookers, and allegedly from the two rookie officers at the scene. He was not struggling. The "car incident" was Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, and they talked for nearly 45 minutes before they attempted to cuff him. Again, smh...

FrederickFan

Excellent column. We will not recognize the rights of others until we change our hearts and minds.

petersamuel

Mr Bohner's assessment of the death of George Floyd as a clearcut case of murder by the police is widely accepted by people of all political perspectives. It is uncontroveersial. What I find unacceptable is this notion that "we" are ultimately responsible for this atrocity. No, no, no. Officer Derek Chauvin and the other police officers who did this are responsible. Fully responsible. No one else bears the responsibility.

DickD

If you think no one else is responsible, you are wrong! This was not the first time that officer committed unjustified force. Both Floyd and the police officer worked at the same night club, they knew each other. The real question is whether premeditated murder can be the charge.

gabrielshorn2013

Are you now willing to admit that the [gasp!] policemen's union has some culpability Dick? After all, IAD had registered the complaints against him, but it was his FOP that gave him cover over, and over, and over (more than 17 times).

awteam2000

The tapes show bystanders were yelling at the police, saying “you are killing him” “ stop” “ stop” “stop” “what the hell are you doing“ “get off his neck”!

Listen to the tapes....Yeah, screams by the witnesses, at the police who pledged to protect them, who were the police protecting?

While the inhumane act was playing out for over 8:46 minutes. They (Derek Chauvin’s accomplice) stood in place, watching the murder, for 8:46 minutes! “God“, who does that? Does that have to be taught to police when to interject, who are the criminals at that point? George Floyd was crying for his dear dead mother before he perished. Who stands around and watches that? Is that policing? If so, I don’t want Cops killing blacks so somehow for me to feel safer .

I think” Black Lives Matter” as much as anyone else. Rayshard Brooks shouldn't be dead 'because he was drunk at a freaking Wendy's', or Breonna Taylor murdered by police in her bed, or Ahmaud Arbery for jogging, or Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Antonio Martin, and Jerame Reid, among others, all excused. Right?

The bystanders showed showed more restraint then I think I could have. They are way better then me. But the cops probably wouldn’t have open fire on me. I was born with the card. They maybe, would have stopped and listened to me.

Wonder why?

hayduke2

petersamuel - I am reminded of this quote and you should be also - "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Thewheelone

You said it all, Hay.

bosco

[thumbup] I keep thinking that I would have had a hard time NOT intervening on behalf of Floyd, but then I would've been death number two. It bothers me and probably will.

In the meantime, try to do something today and every day that makes the world a better place.

[ninja]

mrnatural1

Great quote hayduke. [thumbup]

threecents

Bosco[thumbup]

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