Statement from Democratic Municipal Officials on the Killing of George Floyd and Ongoing Protests
We, the Democratic Municipal Officials of America strongly and unequivocally condemn the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, as well as the officers who stood by and watched the killing. We call for the immediate arrest of all officers involved, and hope swift justice can be served for George Floyd, his family, and the Minneapolis community.
We respect the anger of protesters marching against racial violence. As DMO President and Detroit Councilman Scott Benson stated, “Each time this occurs anywhere in America, it is felt by our entire community and reminds us of how dangerous life is and how quickly it can be snatched from one of our own. No one can expect this magnitude of hurt, pain, fear and uncertainty to be absorbed without manifesting itself in some way, shape or form.” Our local elected leaders feel this anger as their own, but we also cannot tolerate the selfish few who have taken it upon themselves to loot local businesses, or respond to this situation with violence.
While we support the brave police officers who have worked to keep peace across the country, we must also recognize not all police behave so admirably. Sadly, we have seen irrefutable evidence this past week how certain police activities can escalate non-violent protests. We must also not pretend that the killing of George Floyd was an outlier. These protests come as the inevitable response to the fear and pain inflicted on black Americans by racist police. Local officials bear the responsibility, however difficult and uncomfortable, of making sure our cities are safe from police violence as much as property violence.
Finally, we must recognize the failure of leadership coming from the President, who this weekend emerged from his bunker to tweet from a darkened White House. President Trump has actively participated in racist causes, instituting his “Muslim ban” on certain countries, calling the white supremacists in Charlottesville “very fine people”, and Mexicans “rapists”. This week he called for violence against our cities, saying “When the Looting Starts, the Shooting Starts”, and threatened to respond to protests with the “unlimited power of our Military.”
The words of President Barack Obama inspire us to move forward with the difficult task of rebuilding what has been destroyed. “It falls on all of us…to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts”.
At DMO, we know local elected officials are held responsible to all members of our community; the people of color who endure racism, non-violent protesters marching in solidarity, small business owners who stay awake for fear of looters, and the police, whom we have seen the best and worst of this past week.
These are the times when our local elected officials are called upon to do more than we can expect of anyone. As you lose sleep trying to keep your cities safe, field phone calls from angry constituents, and prepare for the long weeks ahead, know that we here at DMO stand by you, and are here to support you. With one last request, encourage your residents who are fed up with the negative messages that are coming from the White House to VOTE on November 3rd, 2020.