Georgia law enforcement leaders condemn handling of George Floyd arrest

George Floyd died Monday, but his desperate call for help, captured on camera, has since been heard by millions. 

The chilling video, taken by a bystander, shows a white Minneapolis police officer digging his knee into the handcuffed black man's neck for nearly eight minutes. Meantime, three other officers are seen standing by, watching Floyd's body eventually go limp.

The handling of Floyd's arrest, for reportedly attempting to pass off counterfeit money, has set off a nationwide avalanche of emotion. Even thousands of miles away, in Georgia, law enforcement leaders spoke out in the wake of Floyd's death -- many condemning the four Minneapolis police officers, who have since been fired.

"This is unspeakable, this is egregious beyond reproach," said Dr. Cedric Alexander, former DeKalb County Public Safety Director. 

From DeKalb to Polk County, Georgia leaders addressed the incident on social media, and they didn't mince their words.

"This kind of brutality is terrible and it needs to stop," said Polk County Sheriff, Johnny Moats. "All Officers involved need to be arrested and charged immediately. Praying for the family."

Echoing that sentiment, Atlanta's own, Chief Erika Shields called for the officers' arrest.

"My colleagues and I are appalled with what has occurred to George Floyd," Shields said in a Facebook video. "We fully expect for the officers to serve prison time. They've earned it."

Chief Shields has held a position in nearly every division, working with APD since 1995. She said race relations needs to be part of an ongoing, honest conversation.

"One of the strengths of law enforcement is its people, but it's also our greatest obstacle," said Shields. "We hire people that represent society, and sometimes the worst parts of society end up on our payroll."

APD doesn't tolerate choke holds or pressure on the neck of any kind, according to Shields. 

DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said she's not aware of any other law enforcement agency that teaches the behavior seen in the now viral video. For her, the Minneapolis incident struck an emotional chord. 

"These incidents have become personal for me – a woman of color and a law enforcement official," Maddox said in a statement. "As grandmother of two beautiful grandsons, I am kept awake at night because of tragedies like these. I wonder and worry about what awaits them as they grow."

While Officer Derek Chauvin has taken the brunt of the widespread outrage for the use of his knee, the others aren't getting off scot-free.

Alexander said they should have intervened.

"But you know what is even more disturbing is that there were three other officers, who stood there and saw the same thing and did absolutely nothing," Alexander told FOX 5's Portia Bruner over video call.

Maddox agrees.

"And the officers who stood by and did nothing but control the crowd are equally complicit in what happened," she added in a statement.