Upstate, WNC sheriffs react to law enforcement actions surrounding George Floyd’s death

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Protesters walk down the 16th Street mall during a protest over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Denver. Protesters walked from the Capitol down the 16th Street pedestrian mall. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(WSPA) – Following the events surrounding Minnesota man George Floyd’s death, several law enforcement in our region have made public statements in regard to the officer’s handling of the situation.

Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis’ statement:

“Regarding the horrific incident involving police officers in Minneapolis, MN, I want to take this opportunity to ensure our community that my command staff and I are doing everything in our power to reiterate our use of force policy and in particular the dangers of positional asphyxia. As law enforcement officers, we are duly sworn to render aid to those suffering a medical distress and to cease ANY and ALL use of force once a suspect is under control and what I watched in that video was outright criminal. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. George Floyd and the citizens of Minneapolis during this difficult time.”

A statement from Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride:

“I have been following the events surrounding senseless and tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I, like you, find myself struggling to put into words why something like this would happen. I can’t comment on the training or culture within the Minneapolis Police Department, but I can assure you that I strive every day to ensure that ACSO Deputies protect everyone in our community regardless of gender, color, or any other term used to describe the population we serve.

I can assure you that ACSO Deputies are trained on what force is appropriate and what force isn’t when conducting an arrest, but when the cuffs go on, they’re also trained to place the detainee in a position of recovery and render whatever aid is necessary so that the safety of the individual is ensured.

I see it everyday, our folks serve the people because they care for the people, and they want to see this county and surrounding community be better.
We have been so blessed to be able to interact with and be a part of this great community and it’s something we do our best not to take for granted.”

A statement from Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller:

“Law Enforcement should not and cannot condone the abuse of authority by fellow officers. When an officer acts in a way that clearly violates the law as with the death of George Floyd, they must be held accountable. This means not just losing their jobs as sworn officers, but that accountability also must extend to law enforcement being charged by the criminal justice system. 

If I am going to talk to our community in Buncombe County about 21st Century Policing then I am obligated to speak up when an obvious injustice happens at the hands of law enforcement. I will tell you that the death of George Floyd is such a time. 

South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association President and Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis’ statement:

“Law enforcement officers exist to provide accountability. We must live by the same rules we enforce. Further, we, as a law enforcement leaders, must be willing to acknowledge, challenge, and stand against injustice – of every kind. If not, we will lose the trust and respect of the very citizens who ask us to protect them.

The majority of law enforcement officers I know place service and sacrifice above self; not self above all else. To truly honor the life of George Floyd and to atone for his tragic death, challenge yourself to take on that mentality. And, if you’re sick of seeing these types of events, I encourage you to be the change you want to see. Go apply to be a law enforcement officer. Create the change; don’t just hope for it. Lasting change will only be achieved when we all agree to confront, challenge, and stand against injustice.”

Click here to read the statement.

SC Police Chiefs Association’s statement:

“When something is right, defend it with all you have. When something is wrong, condemn it equally. Cases like George Floyd must not only be condemned by the community but also by law enforcement leadership. While a full investigation will occur, there is no law enforcement training that teaches officers to kneel on a controlled suspects neck for minutes on end. Police officers should be held to the highest standard and the many diverse officers I know across South Carolina want it no other way. Law enforcement is a noble profession tarnished by a small percentage of officers who are not dedicated to upholding the oath they took to serve and protect their communities. We are better when police and the community they serve work together.”

Click here to read the statement.

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw’s statement:

“As Sheriff of Oconee County, I condemn the law enforcement actions that resulted in George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. These actions were outside the boundary of all law enforcement training and professional police conduct. Any law enforcement officer using these tactics should and will be fully prosecuted under my watch. My Office reviews any and all uses of force immediately to prevent any mistreatment. Our rule of law is to be enforced fairly and equally toward everyone. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Floyd family.”

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