Chiefs express ‘shock and dismay’ at Floyd murder

Island police chiefs share "shock and dismay" over killing of George Floyd. — MVT File Photo

The Martha’s Vineyard Chiefs of Police Association issued a statement late Friday condemning the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

The incident, which has incited riots and protests across the country, was captured on video. It shows Officer Derek Chauvin, a now former Minneapolis Police officer, pressing his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for several minutes, as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

“As members of the Martha’s Vineyard Chiefs of Police Association (MVCOPA), we wanted to collectively express our shock and dismay at the senseless murder of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis. Like you, what we saw not only offended us, but also all the members of the Island police departments who serve you,” the statement, signed by the Island’s six chiefs of police, reads. “The actions and inactions of the on-scene Minneapolis officers violate the very tenets of our profession, and are entirely contrary to the ethical standards and training that we as police officers receive here in Massachusetts.

“As the leaders of your police departments, know that we stand with you as members of our Island community, and would never tolerate brutality or social injustice in any form. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Floyd family.”

According to published reports, Chauvin was taken into custody Friday, and charged with Floyd’s murder.


  1. Chauvin and Mr. Floyd worked at the same place in 2019, so I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface on this story’s evil.

    • Yeah, there is more to this story than meets the eye. It should all come out at trial.

  2. Interesting that the Association takes a stance against Floyd’s murder, but not against the local conduct of one of its own members. Time to apply their “shock and dismay” locally before it travels to Minnesota.

  3. Notwithstanding the disturbing footage of the arresting officer’s actions, perhaps the island chiefs could have waited for the facts to emerge at trial before declaring this a murder. They could have denounced the tactics employed without declaring a legal judgement that could only be arrived at by a lawful trial. Perhaps even more concerning is the statement that they “would never tolerate brutality or social injustice in any form”. Exactly which sorts of social injustice do they intend to disallow – by whom, to whom, and by what means?

    • Is this a joke? He was tortured and unlawfully killed, aka murdered, on recording and in front of witnesses. The word fits. There is nothing that could possibly come out at trial in this case that could erase what we already know. It can get worse — we can learn there was further motive, for example — but there is no possibility Chauvin is being wrongfully accused. We know for certain Floyd was executed. Some cases are that straightforward. Not many. But this one is. And before you say anything more about due process, consider the irony.

      • I just read this:

        “It’s a terrible thing. We all saw what we saw and it’s very hard to even conceive of anything other than what we did see,” Trump said, referring to the video of Floyd…”

        When even Trump can’t deny it, it’s gotta be really obvious and realllllllllly bad.

    • By now we all have witnessed the murder of George Floyd as he pleaded for his life and called for his mother in his dying minutes. We all have witnessed the murderer continue to block oxygen to this man he was killing for a full 2 minutes and 53 seconds AFTER MR FLOYD LOST CONSCIOUSNESS. Your comment, blue, is why people protest. The only thing worse than silence in the face of what we all witnessed, is an argument trying to find an excuse for it, as if we did not see and hear what we saw and heard.

    • Blue, what we all saw was that Chauvin applied pressure George Floyd’s neck and strangled the life out of him. Res ipsa loquitur. This could not be more clearer even had Chauvin used his hands. Strangulation is not a tactic. People are not strangled until they cooperate. This is so much, much more than ‘disturbing.’ At the moment, I don’t know what the word would be.

      • From the coroner’s report – “The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the
        police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”

        In a few weeks we will have a toxicology report which will fill in a few more blanks.

        The coroner’s report speaks to the act of restraining him, not the knee to the neck, and not lack of oxygen.There were three officers restraining Mr. George the entire time, yet only one of them was charged. Perhaps that’s because only one of them has the face captured in the viral video.

        They charged him with third degree murder, a charge which doesn’t exist in MA. It would have been charged as involuntary manslaughter had it occurred here,
        which is a very good reason for the island chief’s to have tempered their language. I believe the chiefs could have made a point without coming to their own finding of guilt.

        • Additional charges may be coming. If not, that’s part of the reason many are sickened. We are all aware Chauvin has not been convicted. I see no need for verbal restraint. Granted, most cases must be treated with FAR more caution. Much of life happens off camera, and those blanks can be exculpatory. We are faced with a rare exception. Nothing will undo what we witnessed. We may learn more. We will not unlearn Chauvin’s abuse or Floyd’s submissive position and pleas. He was no threat.

          Third degree involves acting without regard for the sanctity of human life, as opposed to intentionally killing. If anyone believes that this murder wasn’t intentional, that person needs a reality check. Or a Pinocchio check. This torture is not what lesser charges were meant for. Mr. Floyd left no room for Chauvin to claim it was unknowing when he choked out “I can’t breathe” and then went silent. And still his killer kept going, making revival impossible.

          I’m not worried about Island chiefs’ words when a man was killed over an unproven minor charge. Where is Floyd’s due process? And where are our Constitution thumpers? When it’s warranted, crickets. Tell some to wear masks while picking up milk at Cronig’s and suddenly I can’t see anything through the rockets’ red glare.

          Say Floyd was guilty. In what U.S. state is the penalty for a fake $20 instant death? The most egregious trampling of rights. Yet the conversation gets flipped back to cops and what they’re entitled to. And nothing changes. This case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt — it can be proven beyond all doubt. Doesn’t mean justice will be served.

          The autopsy is being challenged. A second opinion is on the way. The human body cannot be expected to handle a few hundred pounds of unrelenting pressure on its windpipe and artery, flooding it with a cascade of panic hormones that also affect pulse and respiration. That mixture of chemistry and mechanical force is a disaster, even without frank signs of strangulation. And we don’t have to question a lack of oxygen. Again, George Floyd told us. If he had heart disease, that should work against the murderer. Means Chauvin abused a man with medical issues and denied him care. The latter is true no matter what.

          The only question is whether Mr. Floyd would have been alive come May 26th if not for this brutality. No doubt in my mind. Intoxicated or with heath challenges, he still made it 46 years before Chauvin got hold of him, and yet he was dead fewer than ten minutes after. Entities should not be multiplied without necessity.

          • Thank you, Jackie. Very much appreciated. ❤️ The video of Floyd’s murder has not left my thoughts today. I’m grateful to the girl who bravely filmed it for opening some eyes and hearts.

        • Cite the entirety of the published report: “The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive,” the report adds, noting that “police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous.” ( So, by this report, Mr. Floyd’s carotid arteries, his jugular veins, and his trachea were occluded for 8:46 seconds. Decreased perfusion to the brain, heart, lungs. Officers compressed his thorax, as we saw on the video, effectively limiting costal and diaphragmatic expansion. No off-loading of CO2 from the blood at this point. Respiration becomes impossible. No ventilation. Respiratory acidosis kicks in. Mr. Floyd’s breath was being held for him. I submit that I haven’t googled any of this, and I am referencing lessons learned in School some time ago. I have left out a few of the details to keep myself from being my usual, rambling self. I didn’t look up how long you can live without inhaling. As the report states, it’s dangerous to do so. Blue, it’s your turn. Why would the report state it dangerous not to inhale for eight minutes?

          • “Why would the report state it dangerous not to inhale for eight minutes?”

            Exactly. I misspoke by only calling out Chauvin by name. Seems Floyd had three grown men on him, likely pressing on every organ. What could go wrong? All four “officers” need to be charged for allowing this. The coldness coming off of even the one who was standing makes my skin crawl. These men were eerily patient. They were just going to keep at it until there was no chance at life, with constant reminders from witnesses that Floyd was dying. This wasn’t accidental or reckless, and the defense can’t claim ignorance. It was by design. The charges should reflect that.

          • Click on your own link. Per the medical examiner, there were no physical signs of asphyxia. The man did not die from lack of oxygen. The cop’s behavior was bad enough, there is no need for your embellishment. Now, what did any of this have to do with my comment?

        • Blue, you introduced the autopsy report, which says there is no evidence of strangulation. (By the way, why does the report you introduced say that prone restrain is, “inherently dangerous?” Somebody might get hurt, maybe?) Asphyxia and hypoxia are not identical. Respiratory acidosis, relating from the later, can and does cause, “irreversible anoxic damage to the brain begins after 4 to 6 min and sooner in some cases.” ( One might need to subscribe to Taber’s if an employer doesn’t provide it. This is not an embellishment. The autopsy reports everything to do with our comment.

          • You are not quoting the autopsy report, The language you are referencing is from the criminal complaint against officer Chauvin (which, in turn, quotes from the autopsy report). Such complaints would contain any number of allegations designed to implicate a defendant in the commission of a crime. That’s why it says what it does. I think you and I are in complete agreement that the police ought not to strangle civilians, but that is not what this officer is currently charged with. And I still think this has no bearing on my comment.

          • Bluefish, regardless of the controversial report or charges, do you personally think that Chauvin knew he was killing Floyd? When he had multiple people telling him so repeatedly? When Floyd himself said he couldn’t breathe and then went limp? When a woman wanted to take his pulse and was denied access? When he put insane force on the main spot that officers are trained to avoid? When he made absolutely sure not to let up even after Floyd went still? What do you think his intentions were?

        • News sources are now reporting:
          “George Floyd’s family lawyer said a private autopsy found his death was homicide from asphyxia and loss of blood flow, challenging an official report.”

    • bluefish– you don’t need a court case to know what we see with our own eyes. Have you seen the video ? I will not link to it here, but there is 10 minute video which is very difficult to watch.
      In this case, I could care less what some sleazy lawyer in a courtroom says. This was a well documented murder. Yes we will call it murder. The man is dead.

    • Blue, once you start to justify and find holes in a case as blatant as this you lose all credibility. You would obviously poke holes in any case that fit your politics. I read the preliminary autopsy report as well. Regardless of his underlying condition or any substance in his system, it is next to impossible for me to believe Mr Floyd didn’t die from the restraint (maybe it triggered underlying conditions). He was saying his neck hurt. Not to mention there was zero reason to kneel on his neck. He was handcuffed behind his back, prone with 4 officers surrounding him. He couldn’t have stood up if he wanted to.

      • I never stated anything that contradicts your post, which places your credibility into question, doesn’t it? If I posted anything that was not factual, please point
        it out. I never attempted to poke holes in anything other than the speculations of other posters. I never attempted to justify anything, or poke holes in the charges
        as filed, and you may want to ask yourself why you concluded that I did. As for my original point – The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association issued a statement
        that denounced the actions of the four MN officers. Our own Chiefs issued their own statement that took that one step further. I took issue with that, and you have every right to disagree with me on that point, but kindly limit your criticisms to things that I actually wrote. Neither you nor I have all the facts in this case –
        you may be comfortable concluding that Chauvin is guilty based on a cell phone video, but I think our chiefs of police should be held to a different standard.

  4. What would one think, The OB Chief is President of our our island’s NAACP, he was the leader to successfully remove two plaques on our OB Civil War Statue against the wishes of us OB citizens. Now he is going to allow more racial protests in OB with his blessings.

    • Tisbury, what in the Sam Hill are you talking about?
      What exactly did the OB chief bless?

    • I don’t see how the handling of the plaques is remotely relevant, even if you disagreed with that move, given the absolutely brutal nature of this crime. Would you rather local police refused to comment on this? What do you think their response should be?

    • “us OB citizens”??? You don’t speak for me. I have no issues with any of the actions our chief did that upset you.

    • I read the piece 3 times, likewise the comments. Yours is the only racial protest I could find. Maybe the forum moderator will remove your comment if you ask nicely.

    • Why in God’s name would a town with a significant Black population want a statue that celebrates the cause of slavery.

    • I would hope that all of the island’s chiefs of police will allow racial protests, with their blessings.
      Along with protests of White police officers murdering unarmed Black people.
      And protests of business closures.
      And protests of people not wearing masks.
      And protests of people wearing masks.

    • Should the Chief of Police in Oak Bluffs be prohibited from being the President of the local NAACP?
      Could it be seen as racial bias?

    • The Chief of Police in Oak Bluffs had no official responsibility in removing the commemoration of Confederate States of America war heros from town property.
      Blame the Selectmen.
      If you dare.

  5. Are the chiefs going to express ‘shock and dismay’ at all the criminal acts happening now. The vandalism, stealing of property and complete destruction of neighborhoods. These people are criminals and are not protesting. They are only looking for an excuse to commit crimes

  6. When will the Times make people use their real names so we can know which of our neighbors are posting these things? I for one would love to explain some things to some of these folks in person.

    • If folks had to use their true names they might not be willing to express themselves, and might be more inclined to respect others. BTW, “would love to know” your name.

    • Is WouldLoveToKnow a family name? ????

      I don’t think too many people, especially us girls, would feel comfy meeting the guy from the internet with the skull & bones avatar, neighbor or not. No offense intended. ???? I watched a lot of Lifetime movies as a kid and never saw this end well.

    • would love to know— perhaps the skull and crossbone you like iw the answer to your question.

    • You’re calling out the Times for allowing people to comment under an alias while commenting under an alias?
      Kinda hypocritical don’t you think?

    • aquinnah,

      Being new here, I don’t know all the players. Is WouldLoveToKnow a male?



      • Sorry, barreled_sunshine. I’m a very casual speaker, and I write like I talk, which sometimes means defaulting to “guy” without meaning to imply gender. I should’ve said guy or girl, being unfamiliar with WLTK. I thought the post was a little funny the first time I read it, and my reply was meant in good fun. After a second look, it genuinely seems creepy that someone is demanding our names from an anon account. ????

        • “Sorry, barreled_sunshine. I’m a very casual speaker, and I write like I talk, which sometimes means defaulting to “guy” without meaning to imply gender.”

          I see. Thanks

          “I don’t think too many people, especially us girls, would feel comfy meeting the guy…”

          • Barreled, I know what I said and already apologized if it came across badly. Why quote me again? It was not a big deal. Yes, I remarked that females may be more uncomfortable meeting someone online who is demanding their info and wants to school them. Again, when I wrote my initial reply, I wasn’t taking this matter seriously. It was a joke. Hence the Lifetime movie reference. I feel like attempts at humor are always frowned at or picked apart around here and have no idea why.

            If you would like me to address it from a more serious angle, women are subjected to tons of creepy harassment online and sometimes nervous about sharing identifying information because of it. Perhaps men also feel that way. I can readily accept that, too. I was only speaking of my own experience and what other women have told me, which is pretty extensive. Whether the skull & bones poster is male or female, the message was creepy in hindsight.

            Have a good night.

        • aquinnah,

          This is a reply to your posts and your June 1, 9:13 PM, post to me.

          “Sorry, barreled_sunshine. I’m a very casual speaker, and I write like I talk, which sometimes means defaulting to ‘guy’ without meaning to imply gender.”

          To me, you did imply gender:

          “ I don’t think too many people, especially us girls, would feel comfy meeting the guy from the internet with the skull & bones avatar,..”

          “Whether the skull & bones poster is male or female, the message was creepy in hindsight.”


          Either way, thank you for your reply. The only reason I occasionally post in this forum is to learn and have fun. I have learned a lot from you, and appreciate it.


          • Having fun by butting in with off-topic criticisms in a story about the most gut-wrenchinng news of what’s happening to our nation? FYI, the commenter in question is male and he changes his user name and creepy photo icon from time to time to post his creepy, veiled threats in this forum. He should be banned. Aquinnah’s instincts are absolutely correct and her posts add an on-topic brilliance to these discussions, more than you could dream about contributing. You post here with your off-topic quoting/grading/annoying nonsense a heck of a lot more than occasionally, too.

          • I have three dogs. Two are girls. One is a boy. I refer to them as guys. As in “Hi, guys! Mom’s home!” or “I love you little guys so much I can’t stand it.” Some also use “guy” to mean “random person”, especially online where we cannot know another’s gender unless told. Some use “dude” in the same non-gendered fashion, though that’s not really my word of choice. It’s just slang. Will be more careful about posting.

          • Thank you, Jackie! I didn’t realize WouldLoveToKnow had posted stuff like this before. Definitely a creeptastic move. ????

          • aquinnah,

            “It’s just slang.”

            I call a couple of girls together, “guys”, all the time. That’s not the point. I have lesbian neighbors whom I love. I call them guys!

            In this instance, you did imply gender.

            “ I don’t think too many people, especially us girls, would feel comfy meeting the guy from the internet with the skull & bones avatar,..”

            It is no big deal. The skull person probably is a male. I did not check my spelling or grammar. On a roof trying to dictate.


    • Mr(?) WouldLoveToKnow: With that being your message to all, I wouldn’t trust you to walk a dead cat.

      • I wrote my original post while in bed and 75% asleep. WouldLoveToKnow reminded me of the plot of every B movie concerning message boards. It wasn’t intended to be deep or cutting. At second glance, when I was more awake, it sure seems less amusing that someone was probing for our info. That is the more important thing here, in my opinion.

        I’m just explaining how I personally use slang — the words guy or dude when applied to an unknown commenter online are not always meant to be literal, just like your use of guys to refer to females is not literal.

        I usually try to be very careful with my wording because I don’t want to accidentally offend anyone. That’s why I apologized right away. Not sure why this was problematic. Is it a question of whether I was insulting all men? If so, I wasn’t even trying to truly insult one man. It was just a joke about the visual juxtaposition of his request, his avi, and most of all, that he wanted our names without providing his own. (Now using “he” because Jackie helpfully confirmed this poster is male.) To be ultra-clear, I acknowledge that not all men are online harassers, or vice versa, and have no problem with anyone based on gender.

        Like Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that. ✌️

        • aquinnah,

          It was somewhat offensive to me to you have you think that I am not familiar with the use of the word “guy”. I call women guys more than you, I would imagine. And I also call women with men, guys. I am around /amongst women each and every day. I call women guys all the time. Especially when I am with two girlfriends and myself. “Hey you guys, what shall we do?“, etc.. Or with our animals. Or my neighbors. Or with my family.

          What you said originally, below, is incorrect. Obviously, in this instance, you did not mean the word “guy” in a female sense.
          “ I don’t think too many people, especially us girls, would feel comfy meeting the guy from the internet with the skull & bones avatar,..”

          Discrimination can work in both ways. I’m out, as well.


          • Unreal. You pressed me repeatedly on MY use of a word, so after my initial replies weren’t enough, I described how I personally use it. Not how YOU use it, as you didn’t write it and therefore the context is not yours. I entertained this convo only because I have no ill will against anyone here and am always happy to clarify and apologize. But Jackie was correct, this was a game. Noted. And under such a serious article, it’s ridiculous and I regret answering. I don’t come here for games. That the posted is indeed male makes it even more pointless. Please don’t address me again. Just not interested. Thanks.

  7. Meanwhile, the MIA president, now known as #BunkerTrump, tweeted this only 6 short years ago:

    “It’s almost like the United States has no President– we are a rudderless ship heading for a major disaster. Good luck everyone.”

    Trump hides while America burns. We have no leadership.

  8. The bottom line, despite all the rhetoric, is science will bear out the responsibility of the officers involved; not the ‘shock’ of the local police chiefs or the national protests of various levels of violence. If the medical examiner has found no sign of asphyxiation or strangulation then I would anticipate this deluge of a flood to levy charges against these officers to trickle down to the smallest of streams. It will be interesting to find out what the cause of death was if it wasn’t what has been alleged.

    • Two Inch Fangs, there is no one-armed man here. Poirot is not going to regale us with a shocking denouement. What led to George Floyd’s death is the putrid abuse of his body by three cops while another stood watch. They knew he was dying because there were explicit warnings from onlookers and the deceased.

      This man was alive, talking, and ambulatory prior to being assaulted (not arrested) and dead immediately afterwards. We have zero reason to suspect he would’ve passed away that day from natural causes or use of substances. To claim otherwise is to believe in staggering coincidences. I don’t. Three adults crushed him for an extended period of time. He said every part of his body hurt. Including his genitals. His nose started to bleed. He said he couldn’t breathe. I believe he may have urinated involuntarily. He eventually stopped breathing altogether. They still denied him medical intervention. And then he was gone. In short order. If you consider those facts to be rhetoric or the public concern to be overblown, you are the one with an agenda.

      A basic understanding of biology should be enough to see that a finding of strangulation is not necessary to determine murder, yet some are delighting in this report. I could take a more thorough stab at explaining what I think happened internally from the abuse, but there is no mystery as to the external forces at work. Bottom line, you would not have the former without the latter. Sometimes overthinking leads us further from the truth. Sometimes it just becomes a game and an insult. If a passenger were found dead in burning plane wreckage, we wouldn’t fixate on whether an in-flight drink was served or asthma was present. They may show up at autopsy, but no one with any sense will note those findings as an aha moment or weigh them equally against the impact and fire.

      So what if he had drugs or alcohol in his system? So do millions of Americans. They don’t suddenly die because an officer is innocently nearby. Or let’s say he did have heart disease. That is NOT a mitigating finding. It only makes the police all the more responsible for his death, not less. They are required by law to render assistance to anyone having a health crisis! Which Mr. Floyd informed them he was experiencing many times, and for which there was objective evidence like blood and maybe urine. Or the lifeless man underneath Chauvin’s knee. ????

      The autopsy is being contested and will be performed again by an independent ME. A smart choice. I don’t want to imply that sometimes employees fudge things to protect bad cops but, oh wait, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Regardless of any report, the abuse was plain as day, documented, and cannot be excused.

      • “An independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd’s family found his homicide was “caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” according to early findings from the examination released Monday.

        The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”


    • The police examiner concocted a rationale intended to portray the police as innocent or unwilling murderers, and implied (but didn’t state) that the murder victim George Floyd was under the effects of drugs or alcohol, again in an attempt to create exculpatory factors. We don’t need a coroner to tell us what happened, we have the video. What we need is that policeman and his accomplices (who remain unjustifiably at large) to face swift, appropriate justice. And we need to reestablish civilian control of our out of control police departments in large cities across this nation.

  9. These days you can’t say anything nice about cops. Why not be thankful you live here. The chiefs agree with you. What more can islanders expect?

    • Yes we can, and we should say it more often. I am thankful to live here and for the professional, honorable and effective cops who serve this island.

  10. Interesting discussion, here. The comments did cause me to read both the MN and MA statutes to better understand what is at stake. I also thought back about my own experience sitting on a murder case 40 years ago and the difficulty of figuring out intent in the mind of the accused. I could see a charge of second degree murder in MA on the premise of intent to do serious bodily harm, given that George was on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind him and not resisting. On the other hand, a prosecutor might believe that it would be impossible to get a jury to convict on Murder II, so a manslaughter charge might be more likely for a conviction. So, would it be better for our Chiefs to say, “at the senseless possible murder, which might be manslaughter in Massachusetts, or it might be murder (we don’t want to be too quick to judge, here). We just know it was a very bad thing, whatever Chauvin thought he was accomplishing with his knee allegedly on the neck of Mr. Floyd.” Personally, I don’t think so. Every police leader across the United States who is condemning the alleged acts/murder/manslaughter/horrific death/ etc., and there are hundreds, is setting a bar for police behavior that is higher than it has ever been, with two audiences-their own police forces and the communities in which they serve. Being a police officer is a much more dangerous profession than when I grew up. Every traffic stop has to be viewed as a possible life threatening encounter. On the other hand, there are plenty of rogue officers and police departments that represent life threatening risks to minorities. What makes the difference is strong, unequivocal leadership, careful screening of applicants and serious, regular training. Our Chiefs were demonstrating unequivocal leadership. Implicit in their message was what the Chattanooga Police Chief said to his officers-if anyone is ok with what Chauvin did, they should turn in their badges.

    • Great post. I agree, the bar is being raised for officers, and that can only be a good thing for all involved. I am relieved to see so many officers speaking out against this, including our own.

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