It’s been three weeks since the murder of George Floyd. His death, along with the killings of Breonna Taylor and countless other Black Americans at the hands of the police, has sparked protests and discussions about race relations nationwide. As displays of civil unrest continue, and protesters demand for the defunding of the police across the country, state and local government authorities are beginning to take action to make reforms. In a defiant response to the calls for change, police officers are starting to resign from their positions in various cities across the country.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, at least seven police officers resigned from the department as a result of the protests stemming from the death of George Floyd. According to reports, police spokesman John Elder stated, “There’s nothing that leads us to believe that at this point the numbers are so great that it’s going to be problematic.”
In Buffalo, New York, where a 75-year-old protester was pushed to the ground, fifty-seven officers resigned from their role in the cities emergency response team. While not removed from the police force as a whole, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans said, their resignations are due to their “disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders.”
Atlanta, Georgia’s police chief, stepped down after the killing of Rayshard Brooks, which sparked more protests in the city. According to the Atlanta Police Department, “Our personnel data indicates that we have had anywhere from two to six officers resign per month in 2020.” In South Florida, ten SWAT officers resigned and sent a letter to their police chief stating they felt, “minimally equipped, under-trained and often times restrained by the politicization of our tactics to the extent of placing the safety of dogs over the safety of the team members.” In response, Police Chief Sonia Quinones stated, “They walked away from their assignment, they never talked to me in advance and let me know their concerns,” she said. “If we’re not connecting and we’re not communicating, then we’re not resolving concerns.”
As tensions grow and acts of violence against people of color continue to occur amid recent protests, the clear need for police reform is obvious. If any officer is willfully resigning from their job because they are unwilling or refuse to abide by the official police motto, “to protect and serve,” they have no business being servants of the public.