- The Facts:
New police bodycam footage shows what happened prior to George Floyd's death.
- Reflect On:
Do we have solutions that can lead us to different societal outcomes, not based on new belief systems, but truly allowing people to experience peace, emotional calm and connection?
George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin was one of the events of 2020 that has brought up a great deal of collective shadows that need to be addressed. News of Floyd’s death sparked massive civil unrest and protests that are still going on today, more than two months since it happened.
New police bodycam video shows a terrified George Floyd begging for officers not to shoot him. The footage is from body cameras worn by officer Thomas Lane and Alex Kueng, two of the four cops fired and charged in Floyd’s death. The video was leaked to the Daily Mail and shows officer Lane, approaching Floyd’s SUV, ordering him to show his hands. Floyd does not comply, so the officer pulls out his gun.
“Please don’t shoot me. Please[…] Please, please don’t shoot me. I just lost my mom, man.”
“Put your hands up there,” says the office. “Put your (muted) hands up there. Put your hands on the wheel.”
“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” Floyd says as he’s dragged out of his SUV and handcuffed. Floyd is then taken to a police vehicle across the street, where officers attempt to get him inside. Floyd pleads that he’s claustrophobic and scuffles to avoid being put in the vehicle.
“I’ll roll down the window,” one of the officers says.
“Please, I’m not trying to win,[…] “I’m not a bad guy, man. I’m not a bad guy.”
Floyd is wrestled to the ground after avoiding going into the backseat. As the video ends Floyd begins telling officers “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” The world is aware of how this incident ends.
The current murder case against former cops Thomas Lane, Alex Kueng, Derek Chauvin, and Tou Thao is ongoing. This piece of footage is being used as evidence in the case.
The video below shows the entire incident. Viewer be warned some of this footage may be unsettling.
Why It Matters: The Floyd death has had me wondering what can honestly be done differently when it comes to policing. Watching this video I did not feel a sense of connection and community amongst officers. I felt a separation between them and the potential ‘criminal’ they were engaging with.
In the US, stats show this type of behavior can affect black people more than others, but I never felt this incident was race-related. To me it felt like how many police interactions feel: stressful and disconnected. So why is that? Why in general is humanity so disconnected from one another?
A deeper look into the state of being of police officers points us to the fact that police are consistently under a high level of stress and are not living in a balanced state of being while on the job. Not a surprise to some, but perhaps to others.
I’ve often wondered if the larger issue here is that we have a police force that is experiencing “among the most stressful occupations in the world and officers typically suffer a variety of physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects and symptoms,” according to a 2012 study examining the role of stress and other psychological challenges in a police officers life. “Officers operating under severe or chronic stress are likely to be at greater risk of error, accidents, and overreactions that can compromise their performance, jeopardize public safety, and pose significant liability costs to the organization” the study abstract continues.
After following 59 police officers through 16 weeks that had been trained on Heart Math’s Resilience Advantage® training, it was noted that:
“The greatest and, in our view, most important effect of the self-management training was seen in the participants’ increased ability to manage their moods and emotions, which is a fundamental key to sustaining resilience. … For the police officer, the abilities to think rationally under stress, concentrate, plan ahead, remember and organize crucial information, make effective decisions, and control inappropriate emotion-triggered reactions are critically important and in some cases, can determine the difference between life and death for the officer and other parties.”
Since 2012, 300 to 400 police officers per week in the Netherlands have received heart coherence training through the HeartMath. It was estimated that by 2016, 30,000 Dutch officers would have gone through the training, we are awaiting an update on this figure. HeartMath Benelux is an official partner of the Dutch Police Academy as clearly they see value in this form of training for officers.
The Conscious Takeaway: Why is the emotional and psychological state of an officer not one of the most important factors discussed in the media? It so often comes down to race as our social engineering has trained us to view things in that manner.
We have a potentially extremely powerful solution through Heart Math’s Resilience Advantage® training yet instead of having these discussions we point to divisive narratives like race? But does this really account for the vast majority of poor interactions with police? Perhaps it’s time for a new approach?
Maybe we can begin to address the state of being of ourselves and start taking responsibility for how we feel, what we go through, and how to master our emotions? There are plenty of tools out there, it simply requires a cultural shift in wanting to move towards peace vs staying right where we are. It moves us from a story of separation to one of connection – something that we experience directly, not are taught through beliefs and ideas.
Perhaps attuning to heart coherence can be a solution alongside other proposed ideas?
After all, are the police not people we want to feel like can truly help the community?
“It makes you not want to call the police department […] If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with?” – James Smith, neighbor who called police.
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