In the nearly 40-second video, recorded on a cellphone by one of the protesters, Gorder can be seen giving the middle finger to a small group of demonstrators in Stillwater, Minnesota, about 25 miles east of Minneapolis.
“At a time when we are focused on growing trust in law enforcement and the broader criminal justice system, the conduct and comments by the DOC sergeant and his wife to the group of mostly African American peaceful protestors are troubling,” Schnell said in a statement.
Chauvin is being held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Oak Park Heights, the state’s only maximum security prison, as he awaits sentencing. The prison is located less than 2 miles from Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater.
The bystander who recorded the video on Sunday, 16-year-old Isaiah Jones, said the confrontation occurred while he and about 40 other people were participating in a “church service” outside Washington County Attorney Pete Orput’s home. As part of the demonstration, the group was calling on Orput to bring murder charges against Potter.
During the gathering, a few houses down from Orput, Beer started harassing the group and making “inappropriate gestures” at them, Jones said. At one point, Beer tried to get into one of the protester’s cars. That’s when things escalated, including Beer hurling racial slurs and Gorder threatening to “punch one of us,” he said.
“It was heartbreaking,” Jones said. “It was mind-blowing to see that even though we just seen what happened to George Floyd. Then we had the Daunte Wright situation. You would think that it would be a change but that’s still what certain white people feel about us.”
“It started off really nice and then toward the end of it, we were closing out and I see the police going toward this couple,” she said. “And I seen my son running up there and I see him recording. I’ve always taught him: The most powerful weapon you could have is a phone.”
Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, helped co-lead the church service on Sunday. She told HuffPost that she organized another demonstration held outside Orput’s house on Thursday.
Levy Armstrong said Gorder “hurled expletives” at the group on Thursday as well and that she was “shocked” by his behavior at the time. During that demonstration, Gorder walked into the crowd, causing some protesters to worry that he was about to harm someone, Levy Armstrong said. Instead, Gorder hugged one of the event’s speakers, Myon Burrell, a Black man who recently was released from prison after receiving a life sentence as a teenager, she said.
“It was disturbing to me that he’s a correctional officer,” Handy-Jones said. “What are you doing when you’re on the job? You take you wherever you go. This is who you is on and off the job.”
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