SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — The video of a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis has outraged people across the country.
Protesters are calling for change to stop unnecessary violence that all too often seems to target people of color. To get that change, they need police leaders to join them in the effort.
“I am so grateful for those young adults who had the courage to come out and demonstrate and allowed the police chief to stand with them,” said Chief Elvin Barren, Southfield Police Chief.
Chief Barren joined a demonstration in Southfield on Sunday. He stood with protesters, not as a member of law enforcement, but as a protester. He says he wants change.
“Black lives have been devalued by some, so we have to take a stand in law enforcement and do a better job of treating all people the same,” said the chief.
“It has been very difficult this past week, since seeing Mr. George Floyd being murdered,” said Chief Barren.
Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren didn’t just protest. He also took action. In reaction to what he saw in Minneapolis he met with all of his officers and told them about a new policy just implemented. It is called the duty to intervene.
It says if an officer observes another officer doing something inappropriate or illegal, that officer has a duty to take action. It aims to create a culture where what happened to George Floyd does not happen.
“If you are there and you are witness to this and you fail to have the courage. Let me say it again, fail to have the courage to intervene you will be held accountable,” said Barren.
He says it is just one step in the fight against racism and true law and order He also wants to see diversity training, policies that prevent problem cops from job hopping, and more diversity on police forces.
As Chief Barron calls on this policy across the country he says consider this, the job of police is to protect and serve the public, not to protect and serve themselves and each other.