‘It was a modern-day lynching’: Dane County law enforcement agencies to respond to arrest, death of George Floyd

Dane County law enforcement agencies to respond through virtual public town hall meeting Thursday

MADISON, Wis. — A video showing the arrest and death of a black man in Minneapolis has sparked civil unrest and protests around the country.
The video shows a white male Minneapolis police officer digging his knee into George Floyd’s neck as Floyd tells the officers he can’t breathe. Minutes later, Floyd appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. According to our news partners at WCCO, Minneapolis police said they responded to a report of a man using forged documents at Cup Foods.
Several Dane County law enforcement agencies responded to the video.
Chief of Fitchburg police Chad Brecklin said in a statement: “I watched the video in disbelief and was disturbed by what happened. The actions of the Minneapolis officers do not represent the values of our Dane County community.”
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney also responded saying: “I saw enough this evening without knowing all the facts to declare his tactic as not acceptable or part of our training.”

Prominent local leader and CEO of the Dane County Boys and Girls Club, Michael Johnson, posted on Facebook announcing his call to action from local law enforcement agencies to publicly condemn the actions of the four officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd.
“To watch somebody die like that, it’s just, I don’t even have words,” Johnson said. “It hurt my soul to its core.”
Johnson called what happened to Floyd “a modern-day lynching.”

“I don’t care what he did, that man did not deserve to die the way he did. That was murder,” Johnson said. “Everyone that stood around and watched it, that’s an accessory to murder. I have black nephews, a black son, black kids in my care. When you continuously see these kinds of issues playing out across our country, it hurts; and this one impacted me really bad yesterday. To watch that footage, to watch him beg for his life, to watch him go unconscious and then watch that officer continuously dig his knee down into his neck, it goes against all the use of force training and policies that are out there.”
Johnson’s post calling on law enforcement has gained a lot of attention on social media. Johnson said he received a letter from a woman in support of his efforts.
Johnson read part of the letter, saying, “As a mother of black teens, I want my police department to stand up and guarantee me that they have policies in place to protect this from happening to my children, my husband, my family and my friends.”
Johnson said he wants to help decrease any tension between the public and local law enforcement after what happened in Minneapolis. But, he also wants to make sure our local agencies publicly speak out about what their use of force practices are and what will and will not be tolerated to create some form of accountability.
“This is or should be the greatest country on this planet but when these things continue to happen time and time and time again, it further divides our community and we’ve just got to do better,” Johnson said.
Local law enforcement agencies have agreed to Johnson’s request. A public town hall meeting will happen on a Madison365 Facebook live video Thursday, May 28 at 10:30 a.m.
The public is encouraged to tune in to listen to responses and participate in the question and answer portion.