Evansville community leaders react to nationwide controversy surrounding George Floyd’s death

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 10:43 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Since George Floyd died on Monday in the custody of Minneapolis police officers, his death has sparked protests across the country.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, an important conversation has continued, even among local community leaders in the Tri-State - how can we all be better as people?

Evansville NAACP President Rev. Gerald Arnold was almost at a lost for words when hearing about Floyd’s death.

“My whole life, I’m just - I’m so fed up!” Rev. Arnold said.

Unfortunately, the reverend says incidents like these are not anything new.

“You know, you get a little tired,” Rev. Arnold said. "You get a little choked up because it continues to happen, all the time!”

Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin was even shocked at how the police officers involved in the incident did not listen to Floyd’s cry for help - “I can’t breathe."

“I don’t know why - a handcuffed guy - you would have to be on top of him that long," Chief Bolin said. "If you’re fighting to try and get him handcuffed that’s one thing, but he was clearly handcuffed before he went to the ground.”

The uproar from Floyd’s death has turned many people to looting and destruction in Minneapolis. Bolin says it can affect trust in police departments all over the country.

“This is huge," Chief Bolin said. "I think it is going to be a long time before we get over this.”

“There is decency and honor in the job that you do, and that should be reflected in your community and how you deal with people,” Rev. Arnold said.

Arnold says he understands the pain and anger that people are feeling right now, but states the NAACP will work as a calm voice of reason for change.

“We cannot be part of looting, killing - what we are trying to put a stop to," Rev. Arnold said. "We can’t be part of that.”

Arnold says he has a digital meeting with the national chapter of the NAACP on Thursday evening.

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