With protests and sometimes violent clashes with law enforcement spreading throughout the United States in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, criminal justice leaders in Auburn and Cayuga County have posted statements addressing the situation and local community-police relations.
Auburn Police Department Chief Shawn Butler said the following in a post to Facebook on Saturday night:
The Auburn Police Department believes it is necessary to publicly address the tragic death of George Floyd during his arrest by the Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Department. Though we don't have all the facts yet, it is our belief that the Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo has more intimate details than we the general public have, and acted correctly with his swift decision to immediately terminate every officer involved with this incident because like Chief Arradondo, we firmly believe that those who stood idly by and did not intervene to stop the actions of Officer Derek Chauvin are as liable and responsible for the senseless death of George Floyd as he is. This incident is tragic and senseless and affects all of us regardless if it occurred so far away from where we live here in Auburn, NY. We also collectively believe through our proactive measures over the last several years that the men and women of the Auburn Police Department have built an amazing partnership within our community through collaborative efforts in order to create trust though accountability, openness and transparency. We in the Auburn Police Department as well as our City Government Officials emphatically condemn the actions of this group of officers. It is against the oath we have all taken and the values we all hold dear. As the leader of our Police Department I am confident in our officers professionalism, our abilities, our training, as well as our proactive efforts to build trust and legitimacy with our citizens. Part of being a transparent and progressive police department is making sure the public we serve is aware of our policies relative to how our officers are trained as well as how they are directed to use force against another in situations of necessity. These policies are publicly available for review on our website and can be found here for the review: auburnny.gov/police-department/pages/use-force-policy I would also like to specifically direct our public to our referenced Use of Force Policy section 300.2.2 DUTY TO INTERCEDE: "Any officer present and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. An officer who observes another officer use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these observations to a supervisor." We the police must act courageously to protect those that cannot protect themselves regardless if it is at the hands of one of our own. I am confident that we will never find ourselves facing a tragedy like the one being experienced in Minneapolis here in our community because of our exceptional training and how well we practice compassion and understanding regardless of an individuals background. However, we understand that some citizens will express their frustrations with us here locally because of the cowardly acts of a few officers in Minneapolis who have tarnished the badge we all so proudly wear. With that frustration our officers are prepared to listen with open minds and to show through their professionalism that this is not how the members of the Auburn Police Department serve our community. We mourn with the family of George Floyd and we ask for peace and understanding so that we as a community can heal and unite as one moving forward. Chief Shawn I. Butler and the men and women of the Auburn Police Department.
Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck addressed the situation with the following statement, which was also posted to Facebook:
The members of the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office are saddened to see the tragic loss of life that has occurred with the loss of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent violence that has spread throughout our country. Incidents like these, regardless of how far or near they occur to Cayuga County, can put a great deal of strain on relationships between our community members and the Police Officers that serve in them. Our mission is to provide responsive, caring, unbiased, and professional law enforcement services to all citizens and to maintain the trust and respect of those we serve. We, like most law enforcement agencies across the country, work tirelessly to uphold the basic principles of our mission and recognize that if we do not, we must be held accountable. Maintaining a safe community can only be achieved through mutual respect between the Police and the people they serve. We recognize the importance of this relationship and the continuing effort required to maintain it. Moving forward we will continue to utilize community partnerships to secure a safe community for all that live in and visit our area.
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