DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Law enforcement officials in Georgia are reacting to the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday.
The 46-year-old was unarmed when police were seen on cellphone video restraining him, pinning him to the street using a knee as he pleaded with officers that he could not breathe. The officers involved have since been fired.
Thursday, DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox issued the following statement:
“Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Anthony Hill, and now George Floyd. Each life tragically ended at the hands of law enforcement. The death of George Floyd and the accompanying video are reminders of what can happen when the law enforcement community fails the community at large.
“These incidents have become personal for me –a woman of color and a law enforcement official. I should not have to fear for my blood brothers as they go about their daily lives. As a grandmother of two beautiful grandsons, I am kept awake at night because of tragedies like these. I wonder and worry about what awaits them as they grow.
“No one should have to question the institution that has vowed to protect, serve, and secure the safety of the community. We all deserve to have confidence in our local law enforcement and public safety agencies.
“In addition to feeling hurt and pain for the family of George Floyd, I am also saddened and angered by the outrageous behavior of the former officers responsible for his death. And the officers who stood by and did nothing but control the crowd are equally complicit in what happened.
“Nationwide, citizens place their trust in thousands of law enforcement officers. Most wake up every day pledging to do the right thing and go to bed at night knowing they kept that pledge. Those who abuse their power, hide behind the shield and use their weapons as weapons of aggression rather than self-defense, cast a shadow over all of us, expand the chasm of distrust and make it more difficult for us to protect and serve the community. As a Defensive Tactics Instructor and General Instructor, I know of no law enforcement agency that teaches the “technique” that I saw in the video.
“I applaud the Police Chief of Minneapolis for his swift actions to remove these officers from their responsibilities. I pray that cooler heads will encourage peaceful protest and not allow those who would invoke violence to make a bad situation worse to succeed.
“As Sheriff of DeKalb County, I am committed to maintaining standards of conduct at the highest levels. I will never compromise those standards nor will others in the agency who do not share this commitment be allowed to do so without being held accountable.
“My sincere condolences go out to the Floyd family and the people of Minneapolis.”