Local News

Durham County sheriff, other local law enforcement members condemn officers in George Floyd death

Posted May 29, 2020 8:44 p.m. EDT
Updated May 29, 2020 8:54 p.m. EDT

— The Durham County sheriff is among a number of local law enforcement who are condemning the actions of the officers involved in George Floyd’s death in Minnesota.

Sheriff Clarence Birkhead has been in law enforcement for 35 years. He called the actions of the officers in Minnesota embarrassing. He used very strong and emotional language in his statement.

Like many others, Birkhead has been watching everything unfold across the country since the death of Floyd in Minnesota. That includes the incident itself and the rioting across the country in response to the incident. On Friday, the cop who knelt on Floyd's neck had been charged with murder.

Birkhead said as a law enforcement officer, he is embarrassed and outraged by the actions of just a few officers. He made it clear that he believes all of the officers need to be held accountable.

“There is no thin blue line," Birkhead said. "We are talking about humanity, we are talking about treating people with dignity and respect, and that thin blue line doesn’t exist when you violate a human being like that and you treat another human being that way.“

Other members of law enforcement also released statements regarding the Floyd death.

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood

Knightdale Police Department Chief Lawrence Capps

Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown

NC Sheriffs' Association

"The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association stands for the protection of the rights of all citizens. The sheriffs of North Carolina expect all law enforcement officers to conduct themselves professionally and lawfully at all times. These higher standards of conduct include reserving the use of force, especially deadly force, for those times when its use is absolutely necessary and lawful.

"While we are not privy to the full investigation, what we have seen in the video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota is unacceptable. The video clearly shows unprofessional and egregious conduct by law enforcement officers. This type of law enforcement conduct cannot be tolerated and must be swiftly addressed by the law enforcement community and the criminal justice system.

"Part of the mission of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association is to provide education and training to sheriffs and their personnel. The law enforcement conduct displayed in this video is inexcusable and totally contrary to the training provided to law enforcement officers in North Carolina.

"As sheriffs, we strive to build relationships with everyone in our communities. These relationships are built on mutual respect between officers and their community. It is by our conduct that law enforcement officers earn the respect of the public we are sworn to serve. This type of egregious misconduct by a few officers erodes the respect citizens have for all officers. Therefore, when law enforcement officers violate laws or policy, we expect them to immediately be held accountable. We, the members of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, will tolerate nothing less.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to George Floyd, his family, the citizens and businesses of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the law enforcement community that live up to their oath and creed of respect, courage, dedication, and service to protect and serve their community."

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