St. Paul police chief had all his officers watch the George Floyd video

He said he challenged them to watch and put themselves in Floyd's shoes.
george floyd 1

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell says he had made all of his officers watch the video of George Floyd's arrest, and challenged them to put themselves in Floyd's shoes as they go about their jobs.

The chief says he was "shocked, disgusted, angry and grieving" as footage emerged showing a police officer's knee being placed on Floyd's neck, with the 46-year-old dying at Hennepin County Medical Center shortly afterwards.

Axtell went public with his comments after speaking with his officers, calling the video "beyond disturbing."

"Something went horribly wrong at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, and everyone in law enforcement owes it to themselves, their coworkers, their city and the people they serve to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

"So today I asked every SPPD police officer to watch the horrible video and do something different. I asked them to put themselves in George Floyd’s shoes.

"I asked them to imagine they are on the ground and cannot breathe. Imagine that their only option is to turn to a police officer for help. Imagine the pain, fear and desperation. Then think about how their families would feel later, watching such a video of them, beneath the knee of an officer, with no hope.

"Then I asked them to put themselves in the shoes of the officers, the bystanders, the community members we serve who are now forced to confront this tragedy.

As painful as this is, it’s something we, as law enforcement professionals, must do. Because when we lose our integrity, respect for all, compassion and empathy – when we stop seeing people and only see problems – we lose everything that is good about our profession."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Axtell's comments come after St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter calls for swift action being taken to held the officers involved accountable.

On Wednesday, he told SiriusXM's Urban View that there's "no excuse" for the police's actions, saying "how egregious does it have to get?"

A series of other law enforcement experts, including former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, criticized the use of force in this story by the Star Tribune.

Next Up

Marcus Carr

Why the Gophers could be in line for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Gophers are done with a brutal stretch and are poised to make a run.

police tape

Authorities ID man fatally struck by 'errant bullet' in Willmar

The man was working in his garage when he was fatally shot.


1 dead, 1 critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 169

The State Patrol says driving impaired may have been a factor in the crash.

Richard Pitino

Gophers game against Nebraska postponed due to COVID outbreak

The Cornhuskers have had 12 members of its team test positive for COVID-19.

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.

Willmar Police Department

'Errant bullet' goes through garage wall, kills Willmar man

The man was working in his garage when he was shot, witnesses said.

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 10.59.00 PM

Wild tie Kings with 2 seconds left, win in overtime

Another incredible finish for the Wild.

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 6.53.17 PM

Mike Lindell's MyPillow offering discounts using the code 'Qanon'

The Shakopee-based company is under the microscope because of the recent actions of its owner.


george floyd 7

Large group of protesters call for justice for George Floyd

Floyd died after video shows an officer pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for five minutes.

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

George Floyd's family files civil lawsuit against Minneapolis, 4 police officers

Attorney Ben Crump said, "It was the knee of the entire Minneapolis Police Department on the neck of George Floyd that killed him."

Arradondo, Frey

Four Minneapolis officers fired after death of George Floyd

Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.44.41 PM

George Floyd’s sister calls for murder charges against Minneapolis officers

Bridgett Floyd appeared on the “Today” show Wednesday morning

George Floyd

Bodycam transcript reveals what was said between ex-officers, George Floyd

The attorney for ex-officer Thomas Lane has asked for the charges against him to be dismissed.

Screen Shot 2020-08-10 at 10.01.24 AM

Police bodycam footage of George Floyd's arrest is released

It comes after media challenged an order preventing its publication.

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 1.51.13 PM

Complaint: Chauvin had knee on George Floyd's neck for almost 9 minutes

George Floyd died from a likely combination of the police restraint, underlying health conditions, and intoxication.