SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The death of 46-year-old George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis has sparked outrage throughout the country.
Video shows an officer placing his knee over Floyd’s neck. For several minutes, Floyd pleads with the officer. Floyd later died.
“He didn’t have to do him like that,” Shreveport’s Greg Burns says. “He had his knee over his neck and it just was harmful.”
The resulting protests and riots in many major cities again bring to light the divide historically seen between African-Americans and police.
In Shreveport, several high-profile people — including Mayor Adrian Perkins and Police Chief Ben Raymond — expressed outrage Thursday over what happened to Floyd.
During an afternoon news conference, they also addressed a Facebook post in which a Shreveport police officer opined that the four Minneapolis officers should not have been fired. That officer now is on leave and is the subject of an administrative investigation.
Perkins has tasked 26 people with addressing race relations in Shreveport, including but not limited to citizens’ relationships with the city’s police. Those committee members are expected to begin meeting in June.
Among the panel’s members is Willie Bradford, who recently retired as a Shreveport councilman.
“Even when it wasn’t on video, we knew that there was a different approach when it comes to African-American men," Bradford said. “The video exposed the incidents that are happening in the modern day, but it was still going on in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.”
Bradford wants people in all communities to start standing up to racism and injustice.
He spoke about his mentors, the late Dr. C.O. Simpkins and the late Dr. Harry Blake. Both were iconic civil rights leaders who worked their entire lives for racial equality.
“They both stressed the point of loving one another and not allowing fear to guide one’s mind,” Bradford said.