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Detectives Dan and Dave offer their professional perspectives on the conduct of the officers now charged with the murder of George Floyd.

As protests continue across the country over the killing of George Floyd, Detectives Dan and Dave offer their professional perspectives on the conduct of the officers now charged with his murder.

Detective Dan is a former K9 handler and Violent Crimes detective at the same Small Town police department as his brother, Dave. Dan regards his years as a K9 handler to be the most rewarding of his career. He is now retired.

Detective Dave began his career in law enforcement in 2007. Before his recent promotion to Sergeant, he spent six years as a detective primarily investigating Sex Crimes and Child Abuse for his police department in Small Town, USA. He still serves as a Crisis and Hostage Negotiator, and during his tenure as a detective, he served on the advisory boards of multiple children’s and victims’ advocacy groups. Despite Dave’s well-deserved promotion, the Small Town Dicks Team will continue to call him “Detective Dave” on the podcast because … well… we like to give him a hard time. And because “Detective Dave” is basically his stage name now so we’re sticking with it.

Read Transcript

Yeardley: [00:00:00] For our listeners, we read all of your emails and your comments, and we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the horrible events that happened in Minneapolis a week ago. Detectives Dan and Dave just really wanted to speak to that.

Dan: [00:00:19] We’re here to talk about the murder of George Floyd, and what the police did and did not do. We’ve had a lot of questions in the past few days about recent events. We are as equally angry and outraged as you are. We’re upset. We’re embarrassed. Our humanity has been rattled by what we saw on that video of Mr. Floyd being murdered. This is off the cuff and it’s not scripted. So, we’re speaking from the heart. We might not say this the way that you would say it or speak about it. What I want you to take from this is the totality of the message, that it’s not okay, and enough is enough, and there needs to be change. I really, really want this to bring change to what is obviously a system with some fractures in it, and a conversation needs to take place. Several conversations need to take place over not only what we saw in that video, but a litany of other cases, not just recently, going back years. There’s a problem, and it needs to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed now. Before anyone else loses their life.

Dave: [00:01:52] When police screw up, you have to own it. And police screwed up with George Floyd. And it cost a man’s life. I got no excuses for anything that was done there. This George Floyd murder on video, say what it is, within 20 seconds of the video starting, I went down and looked at the length of the video, almost nine minutes. And I was like, “What the fuck?” What–? Why is–?” A, that’s not a tactic we teach, is putting a knee into somebody’s neck area. Now, I’ve put my knee on someone’s back to hold them down and try to control their body. You don’t go up around the neck, and clearly this officer is putting all of his weight on his left knee because his right leg, if you look at it, is just freely moving about helping him balance. So, you know he’s driving every bit of his bodyweight down through his left knee and then to the victim’s neck. And then, you look at the duration of how long this is going on, and then you look at the officer and his demeanor, and the look on his face, which I can only describe as defiant and smug like, “What are you going to do about it?” And he’s doing it on film in broad daylight with many witnesses around, and it doesn’t alter his behavior at all.

[00:03:23] And then, Mr. Floyd goes limp, he’s not moving. Leading up to this, I still don’t see that it’s necessary to be on top of this man. He’s in handcuffs, get him up, get him in the car, get him medical attention, get him whatever he needs, but what I’m seeing in the video is punitive. He’s trying to punish this man. That’s not what we’re supposed to do as police officers. We’re supposed to protect him. He committed a crime allegedly, arrest him. But it’s not our job to mete out the punishment. To put your knee on someone’s neck for that length of time especially, we don’t teach it. You can go across the nation and talk to defensive tactics instructors and use of force experts, show them the video, nobody’s going to defend that. At least, nobody that I would give any credibility to.

[00:04:31] And then Mr. Floyd, he goes limp, and we don’t– at least back off of them and check on his welfare and summon some sort of medic to the scene and get him some treatment? It’s mind boggling to me, Yeardley, how out of bounds this conduct is. It infuriates me. Now, I understand the protests, I understand the anger. I understand some of the violence that we’re getting at these demonstrations. Now, all these other officers across the nation are having to deal with the repercussions of the evil and horrible decisions this officer made, any other officers for not acting, which is absurd to me as well. If you see that, “Hey, get off him. Let’s get him up. Let’s get him so he can breathe.” Get him off the ground. Get off him. It’s unbelievable.

Dan: [00:05:45] I want to address this because Derek Chauvin, he’s a 19-year cop. He’s the senior officer on that call. So, you’ve got a 19-year cop, you’ve got a 6-year cop, and the other two are baby cops. I’ve only been around for a year or two. Not that that makes this right. But I’m trying to creep in the mind of these officers and they’re probably looking at a senior officer saying, “Why can’t I– I can’t tell him to get off him. He’s been here forever.”

Yeardley: [00:06:24] He’s my superior. I’m not empowered to say, “Take your knee off that guy.”

Dan: [00:06:28] And Dave and I are not wired that way. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand at all. Turn around and take a look at what your buddy’s doing there. Look at him and say, “What the fuck are you doing? Get your fucking knee off him.” How hard is that? All you’ve got to do, you’ve got to act, do something. Just watch this guy squeeze the life out of this person, it’s disgusting. It’s very difficult for us to watch. And I’ve watched a lot of videos. And that one– I told you, Yeardley, the minute, I watched it, I felt a wave of heat roll through my body. That’s how revolting it was to me how angry I was. It’s the look on his face.

Yeardley: [00:07:15] The look on Derek Chauvin’s face.

Dan: [00:07:17] Yeah, I just can’t get over it.

Dave: [00:07:20] Right after I watched it, I said I’d be really surprised if he hasn’t used that tactic on somebody before. I’d be really surprised.

Dan: [00:07:27] He looked too comfortable.

Yeardley and Dave: [00:07:29] Right.

Dave: [00:07:30] That look on his face is, “I’m the cops, this is the guy on the ground, and I’m doing what I’m doing.” He’s probably done this before got away with it, didn’t get a complaint. Somebody thought, “I’m not even going to complain because of cops aren’t going to do anything about it if I do.” Like, “What are you going to do about it? Go ahead and complain about me.” That’s the kind of body language he’s throwing out there. This case on its face, when we made the statement last week, I’m not prone to being really emotional and hyperbole-y when giving a statement. We got some feedback from people, which it was clear some didn’t read the whole thing. Some people latched on to a couple of comments where details don’t need to emerge. It’s not what I said.

[00:08:20] I said details will emerge. Additional facts will emerge, will. But the video speaks for itself. New facts came out today about the autopsy stuff. I don’t care. The video speaks for itself. Watch the video. Put that in front of a jury and go, “Does that look reasonable? Does that look necessary?” And then, “Did they help him?” You see him, he goes limp. Three minutes later, they finally get off of him. So, the comment out there was, “You should be more outraged,” or something like that. I’m never going to be able to get my outrage across in a five-, six sentence statement. What I can tell you is, like Dan, when you watch the video, Dan felt a wave of heat go through his body. I felt something similar, like a physiological reaction to, “What the hell is that guy doing?” That’s not what we do. You can’t do that. I haven’t heard one cop defend that technique or that tactic. Everyone’s like, “No, you can’t do that.”

Dan: [00:09:34] I just have a feeling that in the future, if people see an officer with their knee on someone’s back, they’re going to automatically think that it’s going to be the same result as Mr. Floyd. I can assure you, where you put your knee on their back is basically on the shoulder blades or between the shoulder blades. It’s usually when you’re handcuffing to try to control somebody because it’s really difficult to get somebody in handcuffs that doesn’t want to go in handcuffs. I don’t want people to mistake that with what we saw on this video, because it’s very different. The other thing, positional asphyxia is something that we’re trained in at the very beginning when we’re in the academy. We are trained in how to avoid positional asphyxia. You see Mr. Floyd on his stomach, he’s got his hands behind his back, and that position alone can actually cause distress for people to breathe. If you couple that with– and I can’t see his legs in the video, but I’m guessing that they had his legs folded up behind him.

Dave: [00:10:57] Yeah, two cops on his lower body. Well, one in his middle waist area, one on his legs, and dipshit with his knee across the guy’s neck.

Dan: [00:11:09] And so they’ve got his legs pinned against his, probably his butt or his lower back, and that is a very difficult position to breathe in. It’s a very real thing. People can die in it from not even having body weight on them. I don’t understand why he was on the ground for 8 minutes and 48 seconds. I don’t understand it. You can’t justify it in any way. What are you waiting for? I don’t understand it. I wouldn’t have my knee on the guy, especially when he’s in that position and you’re acutely aware of the risk of positional asphyxia. I don’t get it.

Dave: [00:11:58] Another question that I saw online was asking, “What can I as a citizen do if I come across a situation where somebody walks up on an officer and a Mr. Floyd on the ground?” Now, some people are like, “Go tackle the officer and save the guy’s life.” Well, we’re kind of in a Catch-22 here.

Dan: [00:12:24] I saw that question, too, Dave. The only thing that I can tell people, and every case is different, no two circumstances are going to be identical, I want people to understand that yes, I know that every cell in your being is telling you to scream and holler. I can tell you from a police perspective, that’s going to probably amp things up a little bit and that the officer who’s standing between you and the man who’s on the ground being pinned by the police is not likely to listen to you. He’s going to rise to your level of anger and frustration, and he’s going to yell, “Get back! Get back! You need to stay back!” The only thing that I can think of in a situation like that is to go the opposite direction, speak to the man, the officer in front of you and say, “Sir, can you just look at him for a second? It’s pretty obvious. That guy’s in trouble right now. He needs your help.”

Dave: [00:13:30] And the flip side of that coin is you have to recognize as a citizen, or even me, when I’m driving up the freeway, and I look over and I see a police officer, and I’ve never seen this happen, but to see a police officer wrestling with somebody on the ground at the scene of a traffic stop. A minute ago, I was a mile back that way. I don’t know what has precipitated that fight. So, for someone to just, “Hey, there’s a cop, he’s trying to arrest somebody and they’re struggling. Now, I’m going to go over and help this guy out and fight the cop and get him to leave this guy alone.” I don’t want that happening, either. I’m fearful that we’re going to have a lot more incidents where it’s an absolutely righteous arrest, and you have outsiders who don’t know any of the circumstances. Now, they’re going to come up and attack the officer because there’s this perceived “that cop is about to kill this person.” It was truly just a fight. That situation to me is vastly different from George Floyd. They’re different situations.

Dan: [00:14:43] I’ll just add one other thing. I cannot say enough good things about the peaceful protesters who have gone out there and been able to use their voice. As police officers, the first amendment, we protect that right and it’s very important to us. Every right in the constitution is very important to us. That’s why we take an oath, and we swear that we will uphold the Constitution. I’m so proud of so many people for getting out there and using their voice. You have our ear. We hear you. You have to be involved in this to make change. We need your help, and I want to encourage people who want to help change. We are looking for good people to join our ranks.

Yeardley: [00:15:36] To be police officers?

Dan: [00:15:38] Yes. It is hard. The amount of candidates, suitable candidates that we have for hiring periods now, has dwindled. Nobody wants to be a cop anymore. They don’t. We need help. Please, come join us and be part of the engine that–

Yeardley: [00:15:58] That fosters change.

Dan: [00:15:59] Yes, please.

Dave: [00:16:01] What this person that filmed the video did, look how much power they have. They weren’t able to save Mr. Floyd’s life, but that video will be used as the key evidence in a criminal trial. That’s huge, and I’m scared about what would happen if there was no video. I get this question a lot. “Why can’t you guys get rid of bad cops? How does this cop 19 years, how does he still have a job even before this incident?” That’s a great source of frustration for us in law enforcement. We’ve said it ad nauseum on this podcast, that we don’t want to work with the bad ones either. We want to get rid of them. There’s some hurdles. Legislation is a hurdle. The arbitration process is a hurdle.

Dan: [00:16:59] I will say this. Unions have done a lot of good for police work. Unions have done a lot of bad for police work too. The problem with unions is they are very powerful. A lot of these unions, it is almost impossible to fire a cop.

Dave: [00:17:23] Talking about these issues that prevent us from purging our ranks of those who should not be wearing a badge, it’s difficult. I hope the public knows how frustrated it makes other good cops with their hearts in the right place, it frustrates all of us too. We’re just used to it. So, you put your head down, you try to do the right thing, and we point out the issues when we come across them. I always fear– I read comments and I listen to feedback we get on iTunes or wherever else. I’m sensitive of that stuff because really, I want to put forth a podcast and content that I’ll stand behind, and then I’m proud of and that I’m responsible for. I’m thankful we have a great team. Logan, Soren, Gary, Yeardley, we’ve got a great team. I’m not perfect. I don’t ever want anyone to think, “Will that cop thinks he’s perfect and listen to him just judge how other officers do their job?” That’s not what I’m saying. I am far from perfect, made plenty of mistakes.

Dan: [00:18:47] Same with me.

Dave: [00:18:49] But my heart is in the right place. There’s a difference. I’ve not made a mistake intentionally trying to betray the oath or not think about what the greater good is. Those are the cops that we bring on the show. Those are the cops that I really connect with at work. Even the ones that when they come in, and I’ve never met him before and it’s a detective from another agency, Dan and I can recognize that, and I think you guys can too, Yeardley and company. You recognize when someone seems very genuine and authentic. You can tell when you’ve come across a nice person, much less, that person is also a good police officer. I’m guessing with the quickness that Derek Chauvin’s wife filed for divorce, that was kind of the last straw that he’s a dick in real life. He’s a dick when he’s at work. When I saw that, I was like, “Good for her. The guy’s a dick. Confirmed.” I’ve never met him. I see the video. His wife is probably tired of this shit too.

Dan: [00:20:05] If you’re a cop and you’re listening to this podcast, if you charge a lot of people with resisting arrest, think about the common denominator there.

Yeardley: [00:20:16] It’s you.

Dan: [00:20:17] It’s you. I didn’t have that many people resist. It was not very often at all, really.

Yeardley: [00:20:25] You guys always say that your job is a sales job. If you do it well, then even the people who are like, “Ah, shit, I get hooked up again by the cops. I know what this means,” you’re like, “Yeah, okay, I’ll get in the car.”

Dan: [00:20:40] Yeah. If you’re charging a lot of people with resisting arrest, you need to change the way you do business. If you are a cop, and you know of a cop that you work with, that gets a lot of resisting arrests and gets in fights with almost everybody they come in contact with, that’s a problem. Here’s the thing that I would say to that cop, if you know one of those cops who’s just fighting with everybody, and they’re always at the hospital taking their custodies into the hospital, if you are on a scene, and you witness it going down, and it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you’re watching it, and you’re like, “I don’t like the way that he talks to people he contacts on the street,” if you don’t say anything now, that’s on you. You have to speak up now, and you start with the officer, because maybe they just need a check. I don’t know what their home life is like. Maybe their daughter ran away, or maybe their wife is cheating on him. Maybe they’re cheating on their wife. It’s not okay to just stand by. You have to say something, you have to– there has to be accountability now and no more excuses. I don’t want to hear them. Nobody else wants to hear them. The public doesn’t want to hear him. They’re tired of it, and so are we.

Dave: [00:22:16] Exactly right. The level of scrutiny that law enforcement is going to face moving forward from this is self-inflicted, and we deserve every bit of it. We’ve got a lot of responsibility and a lot of power. We got to be accountable.

Dan: [00:22:35] I want to applaud the police chiefs out there across the country that went to protesters and stood next to them and marched.

Dave: [00:22:45] The sheriff in Flint, Michigan?

Dan: [00:22:47] Yeah. You see that drastic difference between some cities where they’re riding and some of these other cities where they’re walking hand in hand. I’m sure there’s looting going on everywhere, but those people aren’t protesters. They’re ne’er-do-wells who want to take advantage of circumstance.

Yeardley: [00:23:05] Sure.

Dan: [00:23:06] But I want to applaud those police chiefs and those police departments and those protesters for embracing those cops.

Yeardley: [00:23:14] Yes. For saying, “Yes. Okay, you can march with us.”

Dan: [00:23:18] So important. And what I would love to see and I don’t know that this will ever happen, I would love it if some police officers or all police officers wore a mourning band on their badge.

Yeardley: [00:23:32] Tell us what that is.

Dan: [00:23:33] So, mourning band is when a police officers killed in the line of duty, you’ll see a black band across their badge. I hate putting them on. It sucks. I don’t enjoy wearing a morning band. The police of this country owe it to Mr. Floyd and other people who have died under really shitty and shady circumstances, I think that those people need to be honored by the police, and I would love to see the police wear a morning band across their badge for what happened last week.

Yeardley: [00:24:21] That would be cool. Well, I think we should leave it right there. Thank you, Dan and Dave, always for your candor and your integrity, and for wanting the listeners to know exactly how you feel and that your heart is in the right place and that you always considered this job a calling.

Dan: [00:24:44] Thank you.

Dave: [00:24:45] Appreciate that. Appreciate the opportunity to speak to our listeners. A little five-sentence statement doesn’t quite do what I’m feeling about this case, justice. I’m not sure where to put all my emotions about that scene and the officers, their conduct. I don’t know how to make that make sense to myself. It doesn’t make sense.

Dan: [00:25:17] It’s inexcusable. It’s indefensible.