HELENA — Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins released a statement Tuesday on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
Collin asks residents of Helena to use the anniversary to reflect on the importance of equitable justice and racial equality.
“One year following the tragic event of George Floyd’s death, I urge all Helena residents to take time today to reflect on the courageous fight for equitable justice for all, while acknowledging there is still much to do. The fight for racial equity and the universal application of our laws is at the bedrock of our democracy. I recognize the difficulty our law enforcement officers face every day while serving our community, and I support them in their efforts to protect and serve. After working alongside our local officers, I know the overwhelming majority perform their jobs honorably, impartially, and with integrity. However, the trust between communities of color and law enforcement has been shaken by events across this country. For a justice system to be unfailing it must have faith from those enforcing our laws, as well as those relying on them to protect our rights and loved ones. I look forward to the ongoing dialogue with our local law enforcement officers and local advocacy groups, as to how to continue improving the service to this Community and the fair application of our laws.”
On May 25, 2020 Minneapolis police officers arrested Floyd after they had received reports that he had purchased cigarettes with a counterfeit bill. Officers knelt on Floyd’s body — including his neck — for more than eight minutes while onlookers pleaded for officers to get off Mr. Floyd. In videos of the incident, Floyd can be heard begging officers that he could not breathe.
All four officers involved in the situation have been fired. In April, Derek Chauvin — the officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck — was convinced of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — the other three former officers involved — are set to go to trial on Aug. 23. The former officers are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death sparked the City of Helena to reviewing its own policing policies and procedures.