The violent arrest that caused the brutal death of George Floyd caught in a now-viral video has sparked worldwide outrage against the excessive use of force by police on African Americans. However, Hal Marx, the mayor of Petal, Mississippi, appears to be showing support for the police officer who killed Floyd.
“Why in the world would anyone choose to become a police officer in our society today?” Mayor Hal Marx said in a now-deleted tweet, referring to the police officers who were fired after one of them pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for about 9 minutes which led to his death.
One person responded to his tweet, saying, “Would be nice to get a few in there that understand reasonable force, when it’s needed, and don’t give the rest of them a bad reputation.”
Marx then replied, “If you are talking about the incident in MN, I didn’t see anything unreasonable. If you can say you can’t breathe, you’re breathing. Most likely that man died of overdose or heart attack. Video doesn’t show his resistance that got him in that position. Police being crucified.”
Several people expressed disappointment about his comments, but Marx said his comments were “misinterpreted.” He claimed that no one knows how Floyd actually died.
“I think that people are so quick to judge the police before they have all the facts,” Marx told the Clarion-Ledger. “I can’t say whether a crime was committed or whether they did anything right or wrong, all I’m saying is don’t rush to judgment based on what you see in that video.”
Marx, who was elected mayor of Petal in 2009 and re-elected in 2013, added that people should not jump into conclusions until all the facts are laid out.
“I’ve seen too many cases before where the police were judged to be guilty in the public’s eye but later were found to be not guilty under the law,” he said. “For sending that, all of a sudden I’m called racist, I need to have a knee put on my neck — all kinds of hateful stuff simply for having an opinion and asking people to get all the facts before they judge.”
Moreover, Marx offered an apology through a Facebook live video but is still trying to defend the police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
“The man’s death, Mr. Floyd, was a tragedy no matter what caused it,” Marx said. “We should mourn for his death, obviously, but let’s also wait for all the facts to get out before we condemn these police officers who may or may not have done anything wrong in this case. I do think unfortunately when race is involved, it makes things much more explosive than other issues. This really to me was not a racial issue but I see where African-American citizens, of course, consider it that and for good reason. I understand that.”
“I apologize to the people who may have thought I was trying to minimize this man’s life but I simply was trying to say these police officers deserve the benefit of the doubt until we find out more,” he continued.