Amid the anti-police brutality protests that have followed the murder of Black Minnesota resident George Floyd, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal revealed that he speaks to his six children about police brutality and how to interact with police.
“I have to talk with them all the time,” Shaq revealed on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! “‘First of all, you have to try to diffuse the situation or show respect. If you have to understand that these people are also out here to do all their jobs. So you try to diffuse the situation. If it happens to get rough, don’t say anything, don’t do anything, just comply.'”
“‘And then when all is said and done, you call me, and if stuff gets out of hand, then I will handle it,'” O’Neal continued. “‘I will be the one to come around and act crazy. I don’t want you to act crazy while you’re out there by yourself.’ So I just try to tell them, just comply, just listen.
Shaq didn’t hesitate to acknowledge that compliance doesn’t guarantee safety, saying “a lot of times that doesn’t work either.” Shaq, who became a reserve South Florida police officer in 2015, also spoke on George Floyd’s terrible murder at the hands of Minneapolis Police on May 25, when a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for several minutes.
Four officers were immediately fired for their roles in Floyd’s death. The former officer who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck and ignoring his please that he couldn’t breathe has since been charged with murder and manslaughter, as have the other three former officers. Since Floyd’s brutal murder, anti-police brutality and systemic racism protests have sprung around the nation and across the globe.
“There’s an old saying that goes, ‘What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.’ What happened to George Floyd was all the way wrong,” says Shaq. “Absolutely wrong. Uncalled for. I’ve never seen that technique taught. A lot of police officers I’ve talked to would never do that. Everybody’s upset. Everybody’s tired. We demand justice. You know, they try to appease us by arresting one guy but there were four officers out there and I think people are just sick and tired.”