St. Paul, Minnesota, Police Chief Todd Axtell said he made all of his officers watch the video of a Minneapolis police officer putting his knee on the neck of George Floyd, calling the incident "disgusting" and "dehumanizing."
"It is something that absolutely has to stop and I want to challenge all of our officers, not just in the St. Paul Police Department, but throughout this country, to really check our humanity, really check back on why we became police officers in the first place. We're here to protect people," Axtell told CNN on Thursday. Axtell added that the incident was not "acceptable police behavior."
"We're here to serve people. We are here to be the guardians of our community. Not to choke people up," he added.
He said police departments rely on what he calls a "bank of trust."
"Every positive interaction, every right thing that a police officer does, makes a deposit into that very important bank of trust," he explained.
Axtell said incidents of violence like this can destroy the trust officers work to build.
"Unfortunately, one incident like you saw in Minneapolis can just take that entire investment not only in that city, not only in St. Paul, but throughout this entire country and it is just unbelievably hurtful, all the great work going in, and a few can destroy that in a matter of seconds," Axtell said.
"The actions of very few can really take us back generations of trying to build up trust and confidence with all of our communities within the cities we serve," he added.