When I first watched the video of the Minneapolis officer, I didn’t need to wait for more information to come in. I didn’t need to wait for the investigation to conclude before I made an assessment. When you place your knee on the neck of a human being for over eight minutes – a human being who is handcuffed and pleading that he can’t breathe – there is no defense. George Floyd is a human being.
To those who have said he was resisting: Resisting suffocation is not resisting arrest.
People of color are outraged. White people are outraged. Any cop who doesn’t feel the same should get out of our profession.
I awoke this morning to learn that a Minneapolis police precinct burned the to the ground.
Then I learned that the window of an Aurora Police Department squad car had been smashed out.
We cannot control what is happening around us, but we can turn to our own corner of the world and ensure that the culture in the Aurora Police Department is in alignment with valuing human life and the constitution.
The Training Division at APD focuses on scenario-based training and in every exercise, de-escalation is the first tactic. We include implicit bias training as part of our curriculum because we understand that what makes Aurora beautiful is our diversity.
We have created a culture at APD where we stand with our officers when they are right and we part with them when they are wrong. We are not perfect and we make mistakes, but we police each other at every rank and we swiftly and thoroughly investigate any allegations of wrong-doing with transparency. Accountability builds professionalism.
I see many chiefs sending out messages to their officers with a stern message about use of force. I want to do the opposite. I want to take this opportunity to thank every police officer in our city who acts with nobility and honors our sacred oath. I am so grateful to them for the professionalism and compassion that they display every day in the city of Aurora. The men and women in blue who serve our community are the best in the nation and I am saddened that they will be painted with a broad brush. But they understand that they represent all police officers and they shoulder that responsibility.
Finally, I am grateful for our Aurora citizens who support us. We vow to you that even in these trying times, we will remain loyal to you and our fellow man. It’s up to each and every one of us to keep our city safe.
Please stand with your Aurora Police Department because there is no us.
There is no them.
There is only we.