South Florida

South Florida Community Leaders and Police React to George Floyd Death

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Community leaders and police in South Florida came out early this week to say there had to be an arrest in the death of George Floyd and on Friday, they got one.

Over the last 72 hours community leaders and local police chiefs have been in close contact while the death of Floyd ignited riots in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin won't bring George Floyd back to his family, but it does put them on the road to the justice they have been seeking.

"It’s unacceptable," Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said at a Friday meeting of community leaders organized by the Circle of Brotherhood.

On Friday afternoon in Brownsville near downtown Miami, the room was filled with police chiefs saying the same thing as Colina. They saw nothing in the manual with their departments directing any officer to handle the arrest of George Floyd the way that it was, with former officer Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck even after he was told by Floyd that he couldn’t breathe.

"My heart's broken for what’s happening in our country and what hurts even more," Miami-Dade Police Director Freddie Ramirez said. "Kids are watching this, my little kids are watching this and looking to see how us adults are going to make our community a better place."

NBC 6's Willard Shepard spoke to local leaders and activists about what we're seeing in Minneapolis and the lessons we can learn here.

The top officers came to meet with community leaders and the Circle of Brotherhood, the group in Miami-Dade that has a mission of stopping violence and making sure people of all backgrounds are treated fairly when it comes to law enforcement.

The Brotherhood says their relationships prevent turmoil like the kind in Minneapolis because they are always in close touch with police.

“Find me another city that has the kind of working relationship where people from the community and the police departments and I will show you a city that stays on that course that headed to be an example of paradise, cause we got to work together,” said Luke Muhammad, who helped put on the event and is a one of the men with Circle of Brotherhood.

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson spoke out at a protest in Minneapolis following the fatal arrest of George Floyd. Jackson, like Floyd, is from Houston and they were friends.

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, also addressed the group.

"Because guess what, had George Floyd been a dog, that man would have been in jail. If he had been a dog that police officer would be in jail because we have people that put more respect in an animal than they do in a human being,” Fulton said.

One woman at the gathering asked police chiefs what a regular citizen should do if they run across a similar situation. Chief Colina’s response: call 911.

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