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Colorado Springs police chief apologizes for slow response to George Floyd protests

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 09:14:21-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — On Tuesday afternoon, Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski spoke out for the first time since the protests in honor of George Floyd began.

His address to the community - not getting a positive response from protesters.

At the start of the press conference Chief Niski apologized for not addressing the community sooner. He said, "For not taking a stronger stance. I stand in front of you as your chief of police to address my mistakes and express to you our department's commitment for a united community...we stand with you against injustice and against the acts that led to the death of Mr. Floyd."

The chief was asked why it took him this long to make a statement. His response was to refer back to the Devon Bailey case. He said, "We as a department were being judged solely on video."

In regards to the video with George Floyd Chief Niski said, "What I was hesitant to do at the time was judge another organization based solely on a video. What I have come to, a resolution in my own mind, is that video is so egregious."

He was also asked why he hasn't walked with protesters as other officers have. He said, "It's not that I don't want to walk with them. It's not that I'm afraid to walk with them. I'm just not sure what the purpose of walking with them is. We are in solidarity with them by protecting them."

However, many protesters want to see him take this step.

Iris Garcia was part of the peaceful protest in Colorado Springs on Tuesday. She said, "I think it would be amazing. I think that would show a complete support for the community and what we're trying to do here."

In response to the chief's apology she said, "A sorry, an acknowledgment can only go as far, but what are you actually doing to change?"

For fellow protester Deja Alexander - until the chief takes the time to sit down and talk with protesters "I don't consider any apology he has to say," she said. '"He should be marching with us...because that's what really proved this whole thing could've ended, really, it could've ended with peace signs and a "I support you" from the police."'

For her - she wants actions, not words.

She said, "You should be with us. This is your city too and you should care about it like it's your city too."

Chief Niski shared that he wants to thank the peaceful protesters. He also addressed the violent riots that have happened where rocks and other items have been thrown at officers, and that if the violence continues and escalates he will recommend a curfew to the mayor.