Los Angeles’ police chief is facing calls to resign after he cast blame on looters for the death of George Floyd, a sentiment he retracted and apologized for shortly after.
“His death is on their hands, as much as it is on those officers’,” Chief Michel Moore said Monday at a news conference while speaking out against violence and destruction during citywide protests.
Moore returned to the lectern minutes later to walk back what he had said.
“I misspoke when I said his blood was on their hands, but certainly their actions do not serve the enormity of his loss and cannot be in his memory,” he said.
“What his name should stand for is the catalyst for change,” Moore added. “I regret the remarks of that characterization but I don’t regret, nor will I apologize to those out who are out there today committing violence, destroying lives and livelihoods and creating this destruction.”
He repeated this retraction on Twitter hours later, calling his comments “terribly offensive.”
“Looting is wrong, but it is not the equivalent of murder and I did not mean to equate the two. I deeply regret and humbly apologize for my characterization,” he said.
His apology appeared to do little for some of his critics, however, who ordered him on social media to resign.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee onto his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd laid restrained and unarmed on the ground, and three other officers who were present did not intervene. He had been arrested over allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a store.
Bystanders took video that shows Floyd crying and saying he can’t breathe. He then appears to lose consciousness and his body is lifted onto a gurney.
Two autopsy reports released Monday ruled his death a homicide.
Protests have erupted across the country, with demonstrators seeking racial reform and justice for Floyd and the other Black people who have been killed by police.
“We call for an END to systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken,” the Black Lives Matter movement tweeted over the weekend as protesters rallied across the country.