“Over the last several days, I have been reflecting on the death of George Floyd, who unnecessarily died while in the custody of the Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Department. I am not one to ordinarily jump to conclusions, but the video of this tragic incident should shock the moral consciousness of every member of our society. What happened to Mr. Floyd is a tragedy that never should have happened.
As your sheriff, I believe it is important to address this matter with the community we serve. This is the year 2020 and law-enforcement across our nation should understand we are guardians of our community, we are protectors of our community, we serve our community, and we are nothing without the trust and support of our community. What tragically happened to Mr. Floyd at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect creates a significant hole in the moral fabric of the relationship law-enforcement has built with our communities.
Honestly speaking, there is no doubt the incident in Minneapolis creates tension and anxiety in every community across our country, especially in communities of color. It is important that everyone in Lake County knows the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is here to work with them – not against them. The men and women serving at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office are true professionals. Our staff is trained to deescalate situations, communicate effectively and efficiently with the community, not use force unless absolutely necessary, and when using force – using the minimum amount necessary. Our staff understands the philosophy that justice is served in a courtroom, not on the street.
We take the trust and faith you instill in us very seriously and we believe and apply the concepts of procedural justice and legitimacy. We hold ourselves to a high standard, hold ourselves accountable, and it is only fair the community hold us to those same standards. I am proud of the men and women of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and I certainly hope you are as well.
We understand how upsetting and hurtful this incident is to our communities across the country. Speaking, marching, or protesting are completely acceptable ways to express oneself, but we have to remember doing this peacefully is paramount. Rioting, causing damage, personal injury, and destruction is no way to deliver a message. Governments across America should always be willing to listen to the people, but it is so important messages are delivered in a peaceful, nonviolent manner, or the message is likely to go unheard.
Mr. Floyd’s death will not be in vain and will serve a pivotal piece in emphasizing the importance of police accountability. The Floyd family has the deepest condolences of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.”