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Local police trainers weigh in on the killing of George Floyd

The Arkansas Police Association and those who train officers here in the state say the officer's actions were uncalled for.
Credit: KFSM

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Among the controversy surrounding the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is the position the officer was in when Floyd began asking for help. 

The video shows Derek Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd's neck while he continued to yell "I can't breathe."

The Arkansas Police Association and those who train officers here in the state say that move was uncalled for.

“The video that we are seeing really looks bad and it’s not good for law enforcement across the nation,” said Gary Sipes, Executive Director of Arkansas Police Chief Association.

46-year-old Floyd was arrested Monday and the video of his arrest shows now-former Officer Chauvin pinning him down with his knee while Floyd was already in handcuffs. Minutes later, Floyd was pronounced dead.

“Can you pin while fighting a combatant subject in order to get them in handcuffs yes you can...can you persist in pinning them after they’re in handcuffs for multiple minutes, no," said Don Paul Bales, Head Instructor of Championship MMA.

Bales is the head instructor at Championship MMA in Fort Smith. He used to train police officers to handle situations like the one in Minneapolis.

“There was a double failure here,” he said.

Bales still trains some officers privately through his company. He says Chauvin used a technique that is not taught by police academies and he should have been aware of the potential asphyxiation he was causing Floyd.

He also says other officers should have stepped in to help.

Gary Sipes with Arkansas Police Chief Association says someone should have provided help to Floyd when he was seeking it.

“Immediate attention, medical attention is to be afforded to the individual if he is injured in some way shape or fashion,” Sipes said.

“This is not something I think will require a massive change in coaching, this will require an emphasis on what’s already taught,” Bales said.

Sipes says more training videos have already been forwarded to police departments in Arkansas following this tragedy. 

Sipes and Bales both emphasize that this action is disappointing and does not reflect law enforcement as a whole.

“800,000 to 1.1 million officers, the vast majority of them do the right thing every day,” Bales said.

“I do think everyone in law-enforcement regrets this happened it does not look good,” Sipes said.

Sipes says that police departments across the state work with the communities they serve as much as possible through several events.

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