Rock Co. law enforcement denounce Minneapolis officers' actions
Rock County law enforcement officers are condemning the actions taken by a Minneapolis police officer in the death of George Floyd.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested Friday on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
“What we witnessed was not some type of questionable police activity. What we witnessed was a crime,” Janesville Chief David Moore wrote in a Facebook post where he also expressed his condolences to Floyd’s family “and everyone affected by this crime.”
Horrifying, heartbreaking, and deeply disturbing were all words Moore’s counterpart in Beloit, Chief David Zibolski used to describe the events leading to Floyd’s death. Saying he “publicly denounce(s)” what happened, Zibolski added that as “law enforcement professionals, our department condemns this excessive use of force.”
Both Moore and Zibolski used their messages to detail, at length, to their communities the steps their respective departments take in order to prevent such a situation from happening in Janesville or Beloit.
The Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson released his own statement via the department's Facebook page on Saturday morning.
"I certainly share the concerns of so many and am eager to see a transparent, thorough, and just investigation. We need justice to be served and through that justice, we need peace and a renewed sense of community for all," said Knudson.
He also shared that the Rock County Sheriff's Office does not have any form of neck restraint as part of our use of force program.
"We must all work through the issues together and strengthen our lines of communication," wrote Sheriff Knudson. "Working together to overcome hardship can make us stronger. Our lives can continue to become better because of our rich diversity."
“The Janesville Police Department has implemented a number of initiatives in recent years that assure this type of violence will not occur in our city,” Moore stated. “The foundation of our policy respects the value and integrity of each human life.”
The Janesville Chief highlighted the implicit bias training undertaken by his officers as well as the de-escalation training. He also points to the accreditation process they use to “walk the talk” and going as far as to break down the number of police activities (71,613), arrests (over 13,000), and times officers had to use force beyond handcuffing (54).
Moore also assured community members that what he looks for in officers is character and caring, not “officers that can run, shoot well, or drive a car fast.”
“I hope that our intentional effort over the last decade will give confidence that all citizens will be treated with respect and fairness by Janesville Police Department officers,” Moore said near the end of his post.
Zibolski, too, made a point to emphasize his department’s hiring practices, explaining they are looking for “character, competency, and the ability to appropriately police diverse communities.”
He noted an increase in positive face-to-face contacts in neighborhoods as well as community outreach efforts where they discuss topics such as use of force, traffic stops, and other resident concerns. He said the Beloit Police Department plans to continue those initiatives.
“We will continue to be in your neighborhoods building relationships during this trying time,” he wrote. “We need the continued trust of our community to ensure that the significant progress made in reducing crime in Beloit is sustainable.”
Insofar as officers training, BPD follows the national model for de-escalation and offers implicit bias and crisis intervention training as well, Zibloski listed, going on to say that they “have discussed this particular situation with them in depth.”
He noted his officers have had few instances where force was used and steered people wanting to look into the data to this website.
“Most importantly, I want you to be assured that our officers’ motivations are in the best interest of the community and in keeping you safe,” he concluded.
Both Moore and Zibloski directly stated that applying force to the neck is not allowed.