George Floyd: Houston top cop tells Trump to shut up after he suggests using force to 'dominate' protesters
Art Acevedo said the current situation wasn't about using force but about "winning hearts and minds"
Houston police chief Art Acevedo slammed President Donald Trump on Monday, May 1, advising him to "keep his mouth shut." Acevedo made the statement shortly after Trump, in a conference call, advised all the governors to "dominate" the ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd. Trump said: "If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time."
The Houston police chief, in response, said that the current situation in the country was not about dominance but about "winning hearts and minds." Acevedo, in an interview with CNN, said: "Let me just say this to the President of the United States, on behalf of the police chiefs of this country: please, if you don’t have something constructive to say, keep your mouth shut. Because you're putting men and women in their early twenties at risk.
"It's not about dominance, it's about winning hearts and minds," he added. "Let's be clear, we do not want people to confuse kindness with weakness but we don't want ignorance to ruin what we've got here in Houston. And, speaking for my colleagues across the country where there are officers being injured, community members being injured, if you don't have something to say like Forrest Gump then don't say it because that's the basic tenants of leadership, and we need leadership now more than ever.
"It hurts me to no end, whether we vote for someone, don't vote for someone, it's still our president but it's time to be presidential and not try to be like you're on The Apprentice," the police chief said referring to President Trump. "This is not Hollywood, this is real life and real lives are at risk and I ask the American people to please join with the police, stand together, let's shift this to where it needs to be, to the voting booth."
"Pay attention to the hearts and the people we elect and the reason this stuff happens is because too many people right now in this country, they are throwing bricks and damaging property never bothered to vote," Acevedo said. "So, you have a choice, lift up your voice, be heard in the voting booth, and continue to march peacefully. So, the focus remains on bad policing, criminal policing and let's be real honest, this is not just about policing, it's about society and its disproportionality of the things going on in our country, from education, to health, to food, to everything we as human beings hold near and dear."
As protests intensified across the United States over the weekend, several cops walked in solidarity with demonstrators and kneeled along with them condemning Floyd's death. Several Governors, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, rejected Trump's call for "dominance." The president, meanwhile, warned protesters of military action.
The nationwide protests came as four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's brutal death were fired on May 26 after a video of the incident went viral on social media. The footage showed Floyd pleading with officers as one of them, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck while the 46-year-old told them to let him stand because he could not breathe. The clip showed Floyd pleading with the officer to allow him to breathe and a few minutes later he became unconscious. Floyd's death has sparked massive protests and unrest in Minneapolis and across the country. Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.