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Former Congressman Trey Gowdy doesn’t understand what the hold up is on charging Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with the killing of George Floyd.
The Fox News contributor and former prosecutor ripped into investigators and Minnesota officials for the delay, telling “The Story” host Martha MacCallum that there would already have been an arrest if the officers had actually just been civilians.
*Update: Minn. officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd Friday afternoon.
(Source: Fox News)
“Take the uniform off of that police officer, just have a man with his knee on another man’s neck, there’d already be an arrest,” Gowdy said Thursday, referring to the video of a white police officer with his knee holding down an unarmed black man during an arrest Monday.
The man, 46-year-old George Floyd later died after having pleaded with officers during the arrest captured on video that he could not breathe. All four officers involved in the arrest were fired on Tuesday but none have yet been charged, sparking a wave of violent protests that have turned the streets of Minneapolis into what looks like a war zone.
“I don’t need to wait on the Feds, this is a violation of Minnesota state law. This is murder. It’s either Murder one, two, or three under Minnesota law, but it’s one of the three,” Gowdy said.
“So, I’m happy that the Feds are investigating a civil rights violation, but you can take all the time you want for that, there’s really no reason that this officer has not already been charged with either murder one, two, or three,” he added, noting that perhaps it was not a premeditated move but there should still be charges already pressed.
The former Republican lawmaker slammed the delay, noting the existence of videos showing the arrest and how Floyd apparently did not pose an immediate threat to the police officer.
“If you weren’t a cop, if it was just another person killing someone in the street, there would already be an arrest,” Gowdy told MacCallum. “You have to ask Minnesota why it takes that long to process a video? It’s pretty clear to me.”
He brought up the case of South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof to contrast the difference in how the incidents were handled.
“If I was a person of color, I’d be wondering how Dylan Roof, who killed nine black people in a church in South Carolina can be arrested without incident, but Mr. Floyd, under suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, can’t even live through the arrest?” he said.
“I am not a fan of vigilante justice. I think you’re just creating additional victims and you’re taking away from your argument,” he added. “It would do us all well to take a step back and try to see the genesis of this outrage. Dylann Roof is arrested without incident after he murders nine black folks at a church in South Carolina and yet this guy can’t even survive an arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill.”
Gowdy also called out Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who gave an emotional plea for peace amid the rioting as disturbing video footage of protests continued to be shared on social media. The former state and federal prosecutor wondered how the Democrat mayor could claim he loved the city but allowed officer Derek Chauvin, who was seen in the video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, to stay on the force even though he faced multiple conduct complaints during his 19 years on the job.
“My first question would be, if you love Minneapolis, why did you have a cop with this background?” Gowdy asked, referring to Chauvin.
“This is not his first foray into inappropriate conduct,” he added. “So if you love Minneapolis, why are you hiring and retaining cops that have resumés like this cop did?”
Gowdy also called for a “national conversation” about the inherent problems in the nation’s justice system.
“It needs to be raw, it needs to be frank and it needs to be honest because we’re not going to survive with a justice system that communities of color do not have confidence in and it has been that way for a long time,” he said. “We can’t just have this talk after a black man is killed. We got to have a talk the day before somebody is killed. Maybe we can stop the next killing.”
“This needs to be an American family conversation. Not people putting torches to Target stores in Minneapolis,” Gowdy added, referring to protests and looting in the city this week. “That ain’t gonna accomplish nothing.”
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