BOSTON (CBS) – It was a powerful show of support. Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins and his officers taking a knee in a show of solidarity with George Floyd protesters.
“Eight minutes and 46 seconds is a long time,” Tompkins said. “That’s how long that Minnesota officer’s knee was on Mr. Floyd’s neck. Eight minutes and 46 seconds. Hands in his pockets with a cavalier look on his face knowing that he was being taped and could care less and he pushed the life out of a human being.”
Superintendent of the Suffolk County House of Correction Yolanda Smith had a message to the Floyd family and others affected by brutality and racism. “We wish you peace and strength,” Smith said. “The world joins you in demanding justice. And together a change is going to come.”
Mounting outrage over Floyd’s death and racial inequality has sparked demonstrations all over the country. Tompkins said he understands it and pointed to his own jails where 65 percent of the population is black and brown.
“People say to me, ‘how are we going to fix the criminal justice system?’ And what I say to them is, the criminal justice system isn’t broken,” Tompkins said. “When you have arrogance, and ignorance, and racism matched up with any punitive endeavor, bad things happen.”
And with more and more people taking to the streets, the voices are getting bigger and louder.
“This my good brothers and sisters is our Rosa Parks moment,” Tompkins said. “This is our moment where we are saying enough is enough and we are not going to take it anymore.”