Pistons Coach Dwane Casey to Meet with Detroit Police Department to Promote Changes in Wake of George Floyd Protests

In the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week, a growing number of players, coaches and executives across the four main professional U.S. leagues have spoken out to demand an end to police brutality and racial discrimination.

Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey believes a change in policing and in the relationship between police forces and minority communities are crucial to achieve meaningful improvements from a social standpoint.

Casey, however, is mindful that engineering a shift in dynamic on a nationwide scale is an enormous challenge and has suggested a localized approach may be a more effective first step.

The Pistons coach is determined to lead by example and along with franchise owner Tom Gores, he will sit down with Detroit Police Department chief James Craig.

"That's where it starts," Casey said on the Tim & Sid show on Wednesday. "How they train, what the rules are, the policies that they have, to get those changed. Or get some real teeth in them if [trainees] decide to go off and go rogue and go to be bad cops."

Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25. Footage showing a white policeman kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd cried he couldn't breathe sparked worldwide outrage and enormous protests in the U.S.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd, was fired shortly after footage of the arrest emerged and was subsequently charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

On Wednesday, Minnesota's Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Chauvin's charge had been elevated to second-degree murder, while the other three officers involved in Floyd's arrest—who have also been fired—were charged with counts of aiding and abetting murder.

While the majority of protests have been largely peaceful, some have turned violent, with police cars set ablaze and shops looted across some of the major U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles and Oakland.

Casey suggested Floyd's death was simply the tip of the iceberg for protesters, following the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor earlier this year.

"It's not just one incident," he explained. "It's so many things over and over and over again. Some of them overt, some of them are very subtle."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich have also been vocal in calling out police brutality and racial discrimination, as has Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

"Somehow the culture has to change. It's about policing," Popovich said on The Ringer's Flying Coach podcast on Tuesday. "This [the police] is not an occupying force. The black and brown people in our society look at them as an invading force, as they should."

Earlier this week, meanwhile, Cuban suggested "white people had to change" and had a crucial role to play to repair the damaged fabric of American's society.

Casey praised his colleagues and that if meaningful change was to be achieved, support from different communities was crucial.

"That's important that the white coaches step up and speak out against racism and injustice," he said. "That's when real change can happen and we start changing things."

Nationwide protests extended into a ninth day on Wednesday, with an ever-growing number of high-profile figures condemning police brutality and racial discrimination.

Across the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL, players, coaches and executives have spoken out against Floyd's death and Casey believes it's crucial to ensure the protests represent a tipping point in the fight for equality.

"When the cameras go off in Minneapolis, when the cameras go off at the marches and protests [...] continue to beat the drum," he added.

"Awareness hopefully will lead to change in laws and policies and procedures in the police departments. I think that's where these conversations with friends and people who understand and have empathy will take it."

Dwane Casey, Detroit Pistons
Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons signals a play during the second half of a game against the New York Knicks at Little Caesars Arena on February 8 in Detroit, Michigan. The Knicks defeated the Pistons 95-92. Duane Burleson/Getty