In the same week a black man in Minnesota died after being pinned down by Minneapolis police, the University of Minnesota moved to cut ties with the city’s police department.
In a statement released Wednesday just two days after the death of George Floyd, Minnesota’s president, Joan Gabel, issued a decree saying the university’s contracting for major events will no longer run through the Minneapolis P.D. In the past, the school had used local officers on contract to work major events like football games, concerts and ceremonies.
“Our hearts are broken after watching the appalling video capturing the actions of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers against George Floyd leading to his tragic death,” Gabel said in her letter addressed to students, faculty and staff. “As a community, we are outraged and grief-stricken. I do not have the words to fully express my pain and anger and I know that many in our community share those feelings, but also fear for their own safety. This will not stand.”
Gabel went on to add that the Gophers will also cease the use of the police department’s specialized services, such as K-9 explosive detection units.
Floyd, 46, died in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25. His death has been the subject of protests in the city this week after video taken from a bystander showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling directly on Floyd’s neck. The officer refused to relent after Floyd was heard complaining about not being able to breathe, and he died shortly thereafter.
The four officers involved in his death were fired on Tuesday, and the mayor is seeking criminal charges.