PITTSBURGH, PA (May 29, 2020)—The following is a message Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Scott Schubert sent bureau-wide at 6 a.m. today. Public Safety is releasing it publicly in response to questions from the public and media about PBP’s response to the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
I'm certain many of you have by now viewed the video of George Floyd’s in-custody death in Minneapolis on May 25.
Like you, I was deeply disturbed and saddened by what I saw.
This is not how we are trained to restrain people and it's not what we stand for as police officers.
Regardless of the original crime or what occurred prior to the arrest, a person in handcuffs and face-down on the ground should not lose their life due to the action or inaction of the involved officers. It was difficult to watch Mr. Floyd pleading for help and gasping for breath before saying his final words—all while pedestrians frantically pleaded with officers to help him. I simply cannot comprehend the actions of the officers or their lack of moral courage and duty to intervene and stop the action before it was too late. My prayers are with Mr. Floyd and his family during this most difficult time.
As police officers, we have a fundamental duty to care for and safeguard everyone and anyone in our custody. That did not occur with this particular incident. A man was deprived of his life, a family was deprived of their loved one, a community was deprived of their faith in the people who are entrusted to keep them safe and our noble profession was deprived of its legitimacy by the incomprehensible and senseless actions of a few. There was no consideration for the value of human life and that is inexcusable. These officers don’t represent any of us in law enforcement and must face the consequences for their actions! We are better than this. We must continue to do what's right.
I'm thankful for the men and women of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. I know the high level of training each of you have received and I know firsthand the high level of professionalism, bravery, courage and compassion our officers display on a daily basis. We have sworn an oath and I trust that all of us will use our moral courage to intervene when we see something wrong. We owe it to each another, we owe it to our noble profession and we owe it to the community we protect and serve.
I have asked the Academy to review this senseless death and share additional information that can help reinforce our training and policies. Excessive force is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at any level.
Thank you for your commitment to selfless service. Please stay safe and healthy!
Chief Scott E. Schubert
City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police