BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood addressed the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests in a video posted today.
“Make no mistake about it, this is horrific,” he said. “We fully support the people that want to protest; we’re behind you 100 percent; don’t let your protest be hijacked by people who are in it for the wrong reasons because you lose your message, and we’ve seen that across this county. I would caution you to make sure that your protest is what you want it to be.”
Youngblood said he and his staff looked at the video of the Floyd incident and “could find no excuse” for the actions of the officers involved. He said the officers should have intervened when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force.
“The use of a knee to hold someone down is not a training method that we teach or anyone that I know of teaches,” he said.
Youngblood said the department is reviewing its policies and procedures to make sure they are using best practices.
“We’ve done a lot of things to try and mitigate abuses by officers,” he said. “We equipped all officers with body-worn cameras. We do audits on those cameras to make sure the officers are doing what they’re supposed to do.”
He also said they have a system in Internal Affairs in which if an officer gets numerous complaints, that person is flagged and administrators are notified.
“We want to ensure that if an officer gets two or three complaints, we pull that file, pull that officer in, see if there’s a problem and see if we can resolve it before we have an incident like this,” he said.