Sheriff Chris Swanson of Genesee County, Michigan, says George Floyd changed American policing forever.
The Sheriff went viral for walking along with peaceful protesters in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, while protests in other parts of the country grew violent and demonstrators clashed with the police.
“The message has now grown to a nation begging for unity and healing. It was the tipping point,” he said.
After joining the peaceful protesters last weekend, he says he is now having conversations with Black Lives Matter members every day, which hadn’t happened before.
“We’ve had great relationships but we haven’t had a seat at the table with them. And I’m going to tell you, it’s every one of those micro decisions which is going to get us where we need.” he said.
To go forward from this point, he says legislation is will need to be revamped across the US and the change has to begin with police executives at the top.
“We have to make that sure law enforcement doesn’t ever go back to the day before George Floyd met the Minneapolis police department,” Swanson said.
“We cut out those things that can’t be disciplined out or can’t be trained out. They don’t belong in our field. The burden falls on law enforcement. We have the ability to change it. It has got to come from us,” he continued.
Swanson emphasized that there is systemic racism in the police force that needs to be weeded out.
“If there’s one bad apple, then that’s systemic,” he said. “If there is one person in a field like law enforcement that creates a racial divide, that is heavy-handed, that violates human rights, then it is a systemic problem. Especially, if there’s more than one and we know there are. There are 800,000 police officers.���
As he encouraged police systems to change, Swanson said it’s important to work with the people and communities.
“Don’t give up on people that have given up on us. The burden falls on us.”
“George Floyd changed American policing forever,” Sheriff Chris Swanson, who walked with protesters in Flint, Michigan, tells @PoppyHarlow.