Knee on neck never appropriate, local leader of police chiefs group says

  • Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steven Casstevens speaks to reporters last November.

      Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steven Casstevens speaks to reporters last November. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Steven Casstevens

    Steven Casstevens

 
Updated 6/6/2020 3:46 PM

Placing a knee on a suspect's neck is an inappropriate use of force, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police said Friday as the Minneapolis Police Department moved to ban the tactic.

Steven Casstevens, who also is Buffalo Grove's police chief, told the Daily Herald that "in all my 43 years in law enforcement, I have never seen that technique taught in any police academy or training session."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Casstevens issued a statement as president of the organization to express the policing community's solidarity with those outraged by the death of George Floyd, who begged for his life as a Minneapolis officer pressed a knee to the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.

"I am gravely concerned about the ongoing events in Minnesota and around the United States. Communities are angry, frustrated, and heartbroken," Casstevens wrote. "The men and women of the policing profession share these emotions. The video of Mr. Floyd's death is shocking, deeply disturbing, and painful for us all to watch."

He encouraged community partnerships and declared his support for peaceful protests.

Buffalo Grove police earlier this week worked with a group, made up of Stevenson High School alumni, called Chicago Burbs for Justice. The group held a peaceful protest Thursday in a field behind the Buffalo Grove Park District Fitness Center.

One of the organizers, John Fine, a Stevenson High School 2019 graduate who is now studying political communications at George Washington University, said Wednesday that one of the reasons the group held the protest in Buffalo Grove was "because our chief of police, Mr. Casstevens, is the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police."

Fine added, "We really thought that by organizing in this community, we can have an extremely powerful message not only in our community and our state but in the U.S. and the rest of the world, too."

• Daily Herald staff writer Russell Lissau contributed to this report.

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