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'As a human, it sickened me': Meridian police, Black Lives Matter Boise and a state senator respond to George Floyd's death

The move by the officer in the video who was placing his knee on George Floyd's neck was criticized by Meridian police and leaders in the black community.

BOISE, Idaho — The Minneapolis police officer caught in a video placing his knee into George Floyd’s neck is facing two charges now - manslaughter and third-degree murder.

Floyd died around an hour after police arrested him and pinned him down to the ground. The city fired all four officers involved in his death, but Derek Chauvin is the only one facing charges right now.

In the Gem State local and state leaders are now publicly commenting on Floyd's death. 

Meridian’s Deputy Chief of Police watched the video and told KTVB the tactic used by Chauvin to pin Floyd down was unacceptable.

“To apply that force for that long of a period of time, I can't even try to justify that,” he said. “Especially obviously he goes unconscious, why do you continue to do that?”

The video upset him which is what prompted him to post on Facebook calling out the officers.

“It upset me a lot, the reason I guess why I put the post out there,” he said. “As a human, it sickened me. There was a disregard for Mr. Floyd as a human being.”

Basterrechea trains officer’s de-escalation tactics for the Meridian Police Department. In his more than two decades experience, he said he’s never seen the knee on neck move taught or taught it himself.

“Mr. Floyd is already in custody, he's in handcuffs, he's secured and he's not resisting,” he said. “When the resistance has ended, the force needs to end, and you roll them to their side, and you get them back to the seated position.”

He told KTVB when he first started watching the video, he kept waiting for the officers to re-position Floyd from being face down in the ground. It was something that didn’t happen until Floyd appeared to be unconscious and medical help arrived.

“You need to provide him a duty of care, they should've rolled him to his side, they should've sat him up in a seated position,” he said. “They should've checked on him and monitored him the entire time.”

As for the other three officers involved in the situation, Basterrechea said they failed in this situation since they didn't stop Chauvin.

“An officer can start to go overboard, so you have a duty as a partner and one of the other officers on scene there to step in and pull that officer aside and take over custody of the suspect,” he said. “These officers are going to be held accountable and they should be held accountable, but that will never bring George Floyd back.”

MORE: Idaho Black History Museum director speaks out on George Floyd's death, local police and growing up black

While the Deputy Chief watched the video and commented on the lack of training the police officers showed, Lejmarc Snowball watched it through a different lens.

Snowball is the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement in Boise. He talked to KTVB on Friday about his reaction when he first saw the video.

“It was gut-wrenching. It was one of the most appalling things I’ve ever seen,” Snowball said. “So, how that impacted me personally was yet again, again, it’s happening again.”

It’s a similar sentiment that State Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb felt, who is a Democrat representing District 19 in Boise. She is retiring from her position.

“I recalled the myriad of times black men and boys have been victimized and have been killed in the United States of America,” she said. “I thought of the sit-ins, I thought of the march to Washington D.C., I thought of time and time again it seemed that my black boys were disposable."

While angry and frustrated, they both want to see a change after Floyd’s death.

“When is it going to stop and how much video footage do we need to express that the suffering of black people by the hands of the police is still very much a reality in modern America,” Snowball said. “You watch the video, he’s pleading for his mother and telling them he can’t breathe and it’s ripping your heart out to see it happening.

Buckner-Webb wants to see a change in how officers interact with black men.

“I’d like to see equity, I’d like to see police officers trained and police officers held accountable for their behaviors,” she said.

Following Floyd’s death, protests have broken out in cities across the country. This is something both Snowball and Buckner-Webb support.

“I think they’re absolutely necessary, as what we’ve seen in history protests get things done,” Snowball said. “I think it’s a good way for people instead of just internalizing their emotions that they can come together and express those.”

Buckner-Webb said protests can be a healing process for a lot of people.

“Sometimes protests are about mourning, about mourning your loss. Some of that is a protest,” she said. “Some of the protest is saying I’m honoring that life that is no longer with us, a life that was taken way before its time. It's honoring and acknowledging.”

Some of the protests, including the ones in the Twin Cities, have escalated more into riots. There have been people setting buildings on fire and looting businesses.

Snowball told KTVB destruction of property isn’t a solution, but he also talked about why he thinks these riots happen.

“Those things are more of a systematic or more of a symptom of unresolved tension, unresolved hostility, unresolved anger,” he said. “Once you fix the system, you get less of this. Once you fix the system, I think that’s what this is, it’s a symptom of a broken system.”

It also happens when people feel like their peaceful protests aren’t being heard.

“Sometimes its frustration, some are saying, ‘God, what else can I do. Are they listening, do they see me or hear my voice?'” she said. “Sometimes it is those that want to escalate the violence by making it seem it was perpetrated by that community that was impacted. I’m sorry to say that but that’s the truth.”

While frustrated over Floyd’s death, Snowball told KTVB it is good news the officer is now facing charges for his actions.

“I think that’s going to settle a lot of people’s fears that that wouldn’t happen,” he said. “I think it’s going to settle people’s fears that he was going to be protected by the justice system.”

WATCH BELOW: Philip Thompson speaks out on George Floyd, local police and growing up in Idaho 


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