Outraged at the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him by the neck, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel on Wednesday said the school would sever some security arrangements with the city police department.
The university will no longer contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for added enforcement at large events such as football games and concerts, Gabel said, per CBS Minnesota. And it will cease using city police for K-9 bomb detection and other specialized services.
“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 a letter to students, staff and faculty. “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.”
The move was not a total disengagement with the police department, however.
“We have a responsibility to uphold our values and a duty to honor them,” Gabel wrote. “We will limit our collaboration with the MPD to joint patrols and investigations that directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty, and staff at risk.”
Protests raged for a second day over the death of Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs who was seen in bystander video being held face-down on the street as a white officer kneeled on his neck. Floyd could be heard saying he could not breathe. He later died.
The mayor denounced the police conduct and four officers were fired the next day. The mayor and protesters say cops should face criminal charges.
Here is Gabel’s letter: