Like so many people, the members of the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police were saddened to learn of the tragic death of George Floyd. We, too, were disturbed by the video that captured Mr. Floyd’s final moments. In his most desperate moments, crying for help, he was denied the help and human dignity we are sworn to provide and protect. Regardless of uniform color or jurisdiction, communities across this state rely upon and trust their law enforcement officers to come when they call. These officers failed George Floyd, the communities in which they serve, their fellow officers and the oath they were sworn to uphold.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the role of the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police has become a topic of comments and questions in various forms of media. We would like to clear the air in exactly what our role is in the Minnesota law enforcement community.
The Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police is a fraternal organization. While we advocate for working conditions and officer’s rights regarding their employment, we are not a bargaining unit and do not represent any of our members as a labor union. We are active in the arena of legislative advocacy and work tirelessly to promote and support legislative efforts we feel are in the best interest of our members and public safety. We do offer a legal defense plan, available to all members in good standing. This plan is similar to other pre-paid legal plans with some unique characteristics specific to the legal proceedings encountered by our members. None of the four Minneapolis Police Officers in this case is a member of our organization and are not being supported financially or legally by the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police.
As peace officers, we are sworn to serve and protect. We are seekers of justice. Whenever and wherever we see an injustice, our duty is to intervene. This is never more important than when we see our own as the perpetrators of injustice. This includes during the act and beyond, including the support of criminal prosecution of officers who fail their oaths and communities. We are also firm believers in our criminal justice processes, including the rights of all parties to have due process. We affirm these rights and recognize their value for all citizens, including law enforcement officers.
As much as we do advocate and support our members, conduct such as that displayed by these officers is not in line with the values of the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police and our members. Our membership, as part of a statewide organization, come from all corners of this great state. They serve all communities across the state and are deeply rooted in the communities they serve. This connection, on a human level, supersedes any interest protecting a ‘Thin Blue Line’. We are your partners in law enforcement. We are working to support our members as well as the community members impacted by the death of George Floyd and unrest across our state. We look to the future for opportunities to grow and heal, together, with the communities we serve.