MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A Middletown police officer’s Facebook post condemning the use of force in the arrest of George Floyd, which ultimately led to his death, has gone viral.
Middletown Police Lieutenant Dave Bisonette is not only an officer, but he’s also a use of force training expert who teaches at the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy.
Bisonette said he felt compelled to share his thoughts on social media after watching the video of Floyd’s arrest. His post has been shared nearly 200,000 times.
Bisonette said the way Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes, handled the situation frustrated him beyond belief. He called the video disturbing to watch and “just wrong.”
“As the man sat there and cried out to his mother, those officers should’ve got off and said ‘Are you OK?’ He was handcuffed, he wasn’t going anywhere,” Bisonette said. “I’m speaking for myself here, but I’ve also talked to a lot of other officers that feel the same way. This is upsetting, it makes us all look bad.”
He said putting a knee on someone’s neck to subdue them is a technique that officers are taught to never do.
“It is dangerous, there are bones in the neck that can be broken, if you put too much pressure on it you can cut off the blood flow with the arteries and if you kneel on it the wrong way you can crush the throat,” he explained. “There was a full-sized human being leaning with all of his weight on Mr. Floyd’s neck.”
Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting Floyd’s death.
“Mr. Floyd was on the ground, handcuffed. We teach here now that once you get someone under control and in handcuffs, you get off of them, sit them up and start checking on their well being,” Bissonette said. “That’s taught in the police academy; that’s use of force 101.”