Sharks winger Evander Kane signed and tweeted a petition Wednesday calling for the Minneapolis police officers who were fired following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, to face prosecution.
The petition, initially shared by the super PAC known as Action PAC, advocated for Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman to press charges against officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng in the wake of Floyd's death in police custody Monday. Video captured by onlookers showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd's neck for around eight minutes while arresting him.
Floyd died soon after being taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, police said Tuesday. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Tuesday that the four officers had been fired, and police said the FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would be investigating the incident. The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said Tuesday that all four officers are fully cooperating with the investigation and that "[now] is not the time (to) rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers."
On Wednesday, police used tear gas on Minneapolis protestors for the second day in a row during demonstrations following Floyd's death. Professional athletes and coaches, in the Bay Area and elsewhere, have expressed outrage at Floyd's death -- and police brutality against African Americans -- in the last two days, joining Kane and Frey in calling for the officers to face criminal charges.
Kane tweeted Tuesday that Floyd's death made his "[f---ing] blood boil."
The 28-year-old has increasingly spoken out against racism in hockey within the last year. Kane is one of just 43 players of color in the NHL, according to WDET, who account for fewer than five percent of the league's players.
Former NHLer Akim Aliu, whose revelation that Bill Peters directed racial slurs towards him in the AHL led to the Calgary Flames firing the coach late last year, penned a piece in "The Players Tribune" earlier this month outlining his experience facing bigotry at every level of his hockey career. Kane tweeted the piece May 19, imploring everyone who works in and/or follows the sport to read it.
"I actually read a tweet yesterday saying, you know, 'Stop crying, Akim. You just weren't good enough,' " Kane recalled last week in an interview on an episode of TSN's "In Depth" centered on racism in hockey. "And I'm thinking, 'Well, clearly, he was good enough.' He played in the NHL. He was actually at a training camp in Atlanta my second year ... but that's the furthest from the point.
"This isn't about Akim being good enough to play in the National Hockey League, or not. It's about while he was playing in [the American Hockey League] or while he was playing in the OHL, he encountered racism. Whether that happened yesterday or happened 10 years ago, it makes no difference."