Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem issued a strong rebuke of the Minneapolis police officers who arrested George Floyd on Monday, including an officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn't breathe. He died in police custody.
"Those guys that made those decisions in Minnesota were terrible people before they ever put the badge on. They didn't just become terrible people when they got a badge on," Haslem told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "Now, the badge maybe gave them a little bit more power to make terrible people make terrible decisions, but they already were terrible people."
All four officers involved in Floyd's arrest were fired Tuesday. Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned down Floyd with his knee, was arrested Friday in Minneapolis and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman announced, according to ABC News.
Haslem, however, urged the public not to judge all officers based on the actions of those in Minnesota, citing several family members who work in law enforcement, including his sister.
"And I would trust those people with my life seven days a week and twice on Sunday," the 39-year-old said. "So when people make comments about law enforcement as a whole, I can't agree with that, because I know different.
"But I will agree there is something that needs to be done about what's going on in America with law enforcement and with young people of color."
Several NBA players have spoken out about Floyd's death, including LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Former NBA champion Stephen Jackson revealed that he and Floyd, whom he called his "twin," were longtime friends.