KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Michael York on Friday said he was “saddened and troubled” by the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
“I can’t give an explanation as to why this happened,” York said at a news conference. “It was clearly a violation of policy, in my opinion, and a clear violation of law.”
York said officers within the KCK Police Department are trained to “respect life.”
“(I)f someone is struggling to breathe or is in pain or injured, we render aid to them immediately,” York said.
The police chief spoke at a news conference Friday morning with Unified Government Mayor/CEO David Alvey, who said that he planned to have a conversation on Monday morning with Wyandotte County clergy, York and Sheriff Donald Ash to discuss ways to come together following protests that have rocked Minneapolis and several other cities in the wake of Floyd's death.
Floyd, a black man, was arrested Monday after police were called to investigate reports of a counterfeit bill. A bystander video showed a white Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for minutes while Floyd gasped for air and said he could not breathe. He died later that night.
Four officers involved in Floyd's death have been fired. On Friday afternoon, officials in Minnesota announced that Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Alvey and York asked that anyone planning to protest Floyd’s death in KCK do so peacefully.
“We understand and support the need to be heard,” York said. “We ask that any assembly be organized and, most importantly, peaceful. We encourage anyone who would like to be heard to reach out to Sheriff Ash and myself. We are here, and we are listening.”