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Bishop Ready teacher fired after disputing how George Floyd died during virtual class

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said Deborah DelPrince, a theology teacher, "made unsupported personal assertions and opinions regarding George Floyd’s death."
Credit: Screengrab of the virtual class shared on social media

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A theology teacher at Bishop Ready High School has been fired after she made a comment during a virtual class on Feb. 24 disputing how George Floyd died.

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said in a written statement last week that Deborah DelPrince, a theology teacher, "made unsupported personal assertions and opinions regarding George Floyd’s death this past summer in Minneapolis."

On Tuesday, the Diocese confirmed DelPrince had been terminated.

Floyd, a Black man, died last May after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” His death launched massive protests nationwide over racial injustice and police brutality.

The video of DelPrince that was recorded and posted on social media starts after the initial comment about Floyd.

It begins when a student shows a picture of LeBron James in a shirt reading 'I Can't Breathe'. The photo appears to be from 2014 after the death of Eric Garner in New York City.

"That’s not necessarily true. But it perpetuates a myth against police. I'm not sure LeBron James is in the position to be disrespectful to police officers primarily because he probably doesn't go anywhere without a bodyguard," DelPrince said.

The student then asks DelPrince about an earlier comment saying, "I'm sorry, did you just say it’s disputed that George Floyd couldn’t breathe?”

"Yes, it is disputed," DelPrince replied.

When asked by the student "By who?" DelPrince replied, "The tape."

The student then says, "Did the medical examiner...I’m sorry, nevermind."

"OK," DelPrince said smiling.

The video ends after the student is heard saying, "‘Cause I’m going to say something that’s going to get me in trouble."

"These comments, contrary to school and diocesan guidelines, reflected extremely poor judgment, and upon learning of this incident, the instructor was immediately placed on administrative leave pending a detailed investigation," the Catholic Diocese of Columbus said in a statement.

DelPrince has taught at the high school since 1999.

The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled the cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” A Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s press release says the manner of death is homicide.  

Floyd’s family had a second autopsy performed by Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson. Baden found the cause of Floyd’s death as “traumatic asphyxia due to compression of his neck and back during restraint by police” and called the manner of death homicide. Wilson listed the death as “asphyxia due to neck and back compression led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”

Notes in a witness contact form from an interview with Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner, show that he found the level of Fentanyl in Floyd’s system was “higher than a chronic pain patient,” but adds, “I’m not saying this killed him.” The notes also mention “a relatively low level of methamphetamine.”  

RELATED: VERIFY: George Floyd's manner of death was homicide, not from drugs

10TV tried to reach out to DelPrince for comment multiple times but has not heard back.

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