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Delray Beach police chief decries death of George Floyd, says officers who stood around 'just as guilty'

Chief Javaro Sims implementing program to change culture
Posted at 1:46 PM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 23:06:16-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The death of George Floyd while in the custody of police in Minnesota has sparked a week of violence in the Twin Cities, and once again ignited the ongoing debate of police violence in America.

On Friday, Minnesota authorities said the police officer who knelt on Floyd's neck has been charged with murder.

Delray Beach police chief Javaro Sims released a video concerning the incident.

"There is no training at this police department that teaches officers to take this kind of action," said Sims. "I believe the officers that stood around are just as guilty. It showed a complete disregard for human life."

RELATED: Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw calls video of George Floyd's death 'horrific'

In his message, Sims also said he stands with the Minneapolis police chief for the swift action taken after Floyd's death, referring to the four officers who were fired.

"At this police department we will continue to build community trust and be willing to question and denounce actions that are wrong," said Sims.

The chief also expressed sympathy for Floyd's family.

"To see him take a last breath, so it appears a last breath, it’s nothing but disheartening to see something like that and to see a person suffer before the world,” said Sims.

He said watching the video reminds him of one of the darkest times in American history.

“It brings us back to the 50s and 60s when dogs were being released on African Americans. It brings back those memories," said Sims. "It sets law enforcement back a great deal."

Officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck before his death
In this Monday, May 25, 2020, frame from video provided by Darnella Frazier, a Minneapolis officer kneels on the neck of a handcuffed man who was pleading that he could not breathe in Minneapolis. Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of a George Floyd who died in police custody were fired Tuesday.

He said officers go through annual diversity and deescalation training. Sims said community engagement can help repair fractured trust, but it still might not be enough.

“Law enforcement is broken from a cultural standpoint, and I’m not talking about a specific agency, I’m talking about globally," said Sims. Law enforcement is broken from a cultural standpoint, so we have to look at those things to try and put measures in place to address them.”

Sims said one new program he is hoping to implement by next week addresses police officers holding each other accountable.

“If you take the situation that just occurred, you had officers standing around. If one of those officers just would have stepped up and intervened, either pulled him off that person, or just addressed the issue in general, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” said Sims.

“What should the takeaway be from this?” asked WPTV reporter Sabirah Rayford.

“We have to come together and have these difficult dialogues, so we can understand what’s taking place," said Sims.