Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Thursday addressed the death of George Floyd and called his loss “a shame” and “a tragedy.”
Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died in police custody May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and face down.
“I would just say when we have an incident like that, it’s just a shame,” Taylor told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview Thursday morning. “First of all, we lose a life and that in itself is such a terrible tragedy. I feel for the family and the friends and the people who knew him personally. And then for all of us who didn’t know him personally, it’s still a tragedy that we have such an unfortunate incident happen.”
The incident occurred in the community of Powderhorn, just south of downtown Minneapolis. It was captured on video by bystanders who pleaded with the officers to check on Floyd.
Derek Chauvin was the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while the victim repeatedly said he couldn’t breath. Chauvin has since been fired, but there’s a significant outcry for him to be arrested and charged.
Taylor, 79, is a Minnesota native who says there needs to be improvement in how police handle and interact with people of color, but he says it should also extend beyond the force.
“I don’t think it’s just law enforcement that we need to worry about. That’s one part of it. They’re in a position of power. But I just think in general, for our whole community, we have to have a better understanding of others’ needs, their concerns, their culture. We need to do a better job,” Taylor told Yahoo Sports.
“And it’s easy for me to see that because I was raised in a small rural community and my life has changed so much and I have so many different friends that one has to be open to other people and their needs.”
Amid peaceful protests early Thursday morning, multiple fires were set and some businesses were looted.
“We’ve had some people that have responded to this tragedy and most of them have done it in a proper way of showing their pain, but some of them have responded by doing some break-ins. We don’t need that. It hurts the community,” Taylor told Yahoo Sports. “I’m just hopeful that people will just send their message through prayer and silent demonstrations.”
Taylor believes it’s imperative for his franchise to continue developing resources to aide and stay connected with the community.
“I think the best thing the Timberwolves can do as an organization is what we’ve always been doing and that is relate to the community and try to help,” Taylor told Yahoo Sports. “We spend a lot of time with our youth in the community. It’s very important to us. We can’t just respond to one incident. I think we have to have it part of our overall commitment to the community, and I think we do that very well.”
The organization released a statement Thursday.
“Our community is grieving the senseless tragedy and death of George Floyd. The entire Timberwolves and Lynx organization shares its deepest sympathy with the Floyd family. We will work tirelessly to use our voices to influence change, encourage healing and promote thoughtful action as we move forward.”
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