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Former police officer on relationship between police and community

Authorities arrested a man Saturday after he led them on a chase through three counties that included four stolen vehicles, the last of which he drove into the Tennessee River./Source: MGN
Authorities arrested a man Saturday after he led them on a chase through three counties that included four stolen vehicles, the last of which he drove into the Tennessee River./Source: MGN(WVLT)
Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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Shocking and tragic is how Rob Teuteberg describes the video of George Floyd dying while in police custody last week.

Teuteberg is a former Chippewa Falls Police Officer and current criminal justice instructor.

He says the move used by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin should only be used in certain circumstances.

"From a law enforcement training perspective, any force or pressure on the neck or throat could be considered deadly force and you'd have to be able to justify the use of deadly force in that type of a situation," explained Teuteberg.

Floyd's death has sparked protests around the country, and the world, over police brutality and racism.

"Protesting, even though you may agree or disagree with the issue. I will defend all day your right to do it," said Teuteberg.

But some protests have turned violent and ended in looting and destruction.

"When we cross that line now into violence against people, property, crime, damage, things like that, stealing. Now we've moved into that category of criminal action and that can't be tolerated," he added.

Teuteberg says while he believes policing has improved over the years, it's still not where it should be all the time.

"The problem comes, is that in years past police have been very clandestine. They've circled the wagons, sometimes it's an us versus them mentality. I think we've seen that wall being broken down in the last ten years, but it still remains to a point," he explained.

He says the change starts with getting the right people into law enforcement.

"Every profession has people in it that probably shouldn't be in that profession. So it starts at square one with teaching legally what you can and can't do, knowing proper techniques, and knowing when to apply that level of force," says Teuteberg. "Beyond that, it then goes into the field of law enforcement to weed out, I guess for a lack of better terms, persons that shouldn't be there."

The former police officer says from his experience, the majority of officers are there to serve and protect.

"If we see a bad act, then let's treat it for what it is. If a law enforcement officer commits what would be a crime or does something criminal then let’s take the necessary actions and move forward with that. But what I think one of the injustices is here, just as in portraying certain traits to a race, or a sex, or a creed, is to paint law enforcement with a broad brush as well," said Teuteberg.

He acknowledges the system isn't perfect, but he thinks it's possible for it to get better.

"A lot of it comes down to lack of understanding and lack of communication and I'm certainly not pointing a finger at the police or the community saying you've been poor with your communication. We just need to do better on both ends of it," said Teuteberg.

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