HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- These are scary times, as cities and towns across the United States have become battlefields.

The death of George Floyd has sparked protests, riots, and looting, as there is outrage over police brutality.

While there have been protests in Connecticut as well, they have been mainly peaceful demonstrations.

Veteran Hartford Officer Chris Lyons weighed in about what needs to happen for the country to heal.

He said to bring about change, action must be taken, and people must do a better job in their communities.

"Kneeling on that Mr. Floyd’s neck was disturbing to everyone that saw it. There was not reason for it, he should have had the training and the experience to take care of that situation, and those other two officers failed in their job,” Lyons said.

Lyons was a police sergeant in Hartford for more than two decades, and said Minnesota must send a strong message that police brutality will not be tolerated.

"It causes great distrust throughout the community, and that is not what we want as police officers,” Lyons said.

He knows how rough the streets can be, as he was part of the city’s Gang Task Force during the 1990s when violence took over the north end of Hartford.

He said what followed was more community policing, with officers walking the streets and building stronger relationships.

The death of George Floyd has sent shockwaves -- a black man who was handcuffed on the ground when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept is knee on his neck for more than 8 minutes.

This and other incidents of police brutality have created a backlash of anger and mistrust.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city has taken action in the past against officers who use racist language, and for abuse of power.

"We're going to look for every opportunity to make sure that our department continues to operate with a true accountability and a true relationship of trust and respect,” Bronin said.

"We are part of the community, we want to work with them, to solve their problems, and these incidents destroy that trust,” Lyons said.

Lyons says the other officers who were with Derek Chauvin should also face criminal charges.

However, he said it's going to take a long time to build back some of the trust that has been forged between police and the community.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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