MINNEAPOLIS — It was shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and all chatter ceased in the roll-call room for the Fourth Police Precinct in North Minneapolis. Everyone’s attention was glued to the television on the wall.
Then came the verdict: Derek Chauvin was guilty on all counts, including murder, for killing George Floyd last May. The station house stayed silent, the officers processing what the verdict meant after a year of tension and conflict, said Inspector Charles Adams, the precinct’s commanding officer.
“It was just like, wow,” Inspector Adams said.
For him, it was a relief — he felt that Mr. Chauvin had been wrong and that his actions, kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, cast a negative light on policing.
But the verdict did little to end months of upheaval and anxiety in his profession.
“So much is being thrown at us as law enforcement officials,” Inspector Adams said. “We’re unsure how we’re going to police in the future.”
announced a broad civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.
Inspector Adams said that several officers were now hesitant to perform even some of the most basic duties like traffic stops, worrying that such situations might escalate and get them in trouble.
In New York, a union leader seemed to play on such anxieties.
“It is hard to imagine a tougher time to be a member of the law enforcement profession,” Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, wrote in a letter after the verdict was announced. He warned members that their every action was being recorded and that “scores of attorneys” were eager to sue them.
“Our elected officials are complicit in perpetuating the myth that we are the enemy,” he added.
Attitudes like that, activists said, speak to the resistance of law enforcement to be held accountable and allow police abuses to continue.