If you follow The Mandt System at all, you know the underlying philosophy of the program is “All people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.” There is no “unless”, “however” or “buts” that follow that statement. It ends with a period. ALL people! There is not a caveat to exclude anyone based on one’s ability, gender, creed, sexual identity or race. Yet, time and time again we see in society where dignity and respect are not only denied to individuals or groups of people based on who they are or what they believe but where we justify disrespectful and undignified behavior based on a label. But they are _____ (criminal, thug, black, Hispanic, gay, illiterate, illegal immigrant, disabled, mentally ill, Muslim, Christian, women, man, child, teenager and the list go on and on). We deny unconditional dignity and respect based on the identity or the behavior of others.
At Mandt we teach that people should be treated with dignity and respect even during physical restraint. We do this to role model safety to people who have may never have felt safe and whose unsafe behavior is often driven by anger fueled by fear, frustration or desperation. We, who are tasked to keep safe those who may not be safe, must do so in a manner reflective of our own attitude’s and beliefs about the value of all human life and its worth. Not only do we role model to the individual whose behavior is in question but also to the witnesses who watch us and determine if we can be trusted based on how we ourselves act.
By now we have all seen or been made aware of what took place in Minneapolis, MN on May 25th when a law enforcement officer put his knee into George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes, ultimately ending the life of Mr. Floyd. In the video Mr. Floyd is heard saying, “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe”. Three other officers were present and did nothing to stop the incident. Much of what is shown on the grievous violation of the Minneapolis police departments own policies and training around use of force. Policy 5-301 subheading A “Sanctity of life and the protection of the public shall be the cornerstones of MPD’s use of force policy.” The officer’s involved in George Floyd’s death failed this miserably.
Policies, procedures, and training are only as good as the individual and collective philosophies and attitudes of those tasked to carrying them out. When the value of every life is not in the forefront of our philosophy and attitude, we risk diminishing the value of an individual or group of people and thus treating them in less than a dignified and respectful way. To the extreme, this leads to massive division amongst groups in society and ultimately can lead to a senseless loss of life. What was done to George Floyd should never have happened. It shows how far as a society we yet must go to insure ALL people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. PERIOD!
Tim Geels – SVP Corporate Instruction & Implementation