By: Qinwei Wu
Since the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, civilians still mistrust the city’s police department.
Footage of Floyd’s death released to the public in the Spring of 2020 led many residents in Minneapolis to lose faith in the Minneapolis Police Force. George Floyd was arrested and accused of using a fake $20 billI. In the video, Floyd, a black man, was shown pinned to the ground by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was kneeling on his neck. Within nine and a half minutes, George Floyd died of lack of oxygen, on May 25th, 2020.
A report made by the Department of Justice three years later found that Minneapolis' Police Force was filled with improper management and racism. For years, police officers have used excessive force on Native American and African American civilians, as well as suppressing the rights of journalists and protestors, according to the report. Some saw this as little closure for Floyd's death and years of criticism. However, many people are still traumatized and distrustful of the police.
One of the residents in Minneapolis who saw the footage, T.J. Johnson, says he is now applying for a gun permit. He feels the police can no longer keep people in his city safe. “I’m planning on never going outside without my gun again,” he said.
“The cops who are still here in the department are good officers, they want to do a good job and legitimately want to make the community better”, said Sergeant Andrew Schroeder, an officer in Minneapolis since 2014.
He highlighted that officers “don’t focus on color”, and instead they “focus on crime”. Mook Thomas, a mother and a wife, has a different story. She had been pulled over by a police officer, accused of a broken headlight. Thomas had said that both headlights were working. She felt the police were harassing her and said that the officer had also used racial slurs.
Thomas then swore that even if her life was on the line, she would not contact the Minneapolis police.
Commander Yolanda Wilks, one of the six black female officers in the Minneapolis Police Department, realizes that regaining the trust of Minneapolis citizens will take time, but she hopes that they will recognize how hard the officers have worked over the last few years. She admitted that she considered quitting multiple times in the days following Floyd's death.
“We forget that there are bighearted, passionate humans that work every day for the community they signed up to serve,” she said.
Wilks hopes that the wounds of Minneapolis will be soon healed.