ST. PAUL — The University of Minnesota will no longer contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for support services following the death of George Floyd.

City and university police forces in the past would work together during large-scale events like football games, concerts and ceremonies. But the university will no longer look to the department for help in those cases, President Joan Gabel said in a letter published online late Wednesday, May 28.

Instead, Gabel wrote, university police at the Twin Cities campus will limit their involvement with Minneapolis police to joint patrols and investigations that "directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty and staff at risk."

Also scrapped are agreements with the Minneapolis police for specialized services such as K-9 explosive detection.

"Our hearts are broken after watching the appalling video capturing the actions of Minneapolis Police Department officers against (Floyd) leading to his tragic death," Gabel said in a letter posted to Twitter.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

"University students, staff, and faculty are day-to-day participants in the life of every community in this state, and we must act when our neighbors are in pain," she continued.

The decision comes days after a video circulated online of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the black man's neck as he lay prone on the ground. The footage has triggered investigations into Floyd's eventual death and sparked demonstrations that in some cases turned violent.

One man died and dozens of stores were looted or set ablaze during demonstrations on Wednesday night, where protesters and police clashed blocks from the site where Floyd was pinned to the ground.

George Floyd. Special to The Forum.
George Floyd. Special to The Forum.

A spokesperson for UMN said that the university is still working out how it would resolve existing contracts with Minneapolis police. The university's Duluth and Morris campuses have their own respective police force that partner on occasion with local law enforcement.

In Rochester and Crookston, city police also act as university campus officers.

Minneapolis police found Floyd, on Monday evening, May 25 in a vehicle that matched the description of one reportedly linked to a forgery called in earlier that night. Police reported that Floyd appeared to be in "medical distress" after he was asked to step out of the vehicle, and that he physically resisted the officers who handcuffed him.

A bystander would later capture video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck in a scene that mirrored the 2014 encounter between New York City police officers and Eric Garner. Viral footage of police placing Garner, who was black, in a chokehold sparked similar protests and calls for reform.

Garner died shortly after the encounter.

While Floyd's death is still being investigated, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has publicly called for the arrest and charging of Chauvin. State and local officials have similarly condemned the officer's actions.

Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng — were fired earlier this week.