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Community News

Posted on: June 2, 2020

Mayor, Police Chief statements regarding George Floyd death

As representatives of your city, Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough and Police Chief Vernon Hale feel a duty to address the death of George Floyd and the current national landscape. The City has included the statements below.

Mayor Jim Yarbrough: “Like many of you, I watched in horror last week as we learned about George Floyd’s death. During a stop, a Minneapolis police officer held Mr. Floyd down by placing a knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes while his law enforcement peers watched and did not stop him.

I am appalled by what in my mind was a clear instance of police brutality by the law enforcement officers involved. I offer my deepest and most sincere condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and loved ones.

Mr. Floyd’s death has become a tipping point for many Americans who are both disgusted by the officers’ actions and view the actions and response as another example of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

While I believe the majority of law enforcement officers have the best intentions of upholding their sworn duty to protect and serve without discrimination, we must acknowledge that U.S. policies have often marginalized communities of color. I stand in solidarity with those who peacefully protest this injustice and all who seek a country where our systems of governance truly uphold the notion that all people are created equal.

Over the weekend and again today, nonviolent protesters demonstrated in Galveston. Our local government supports their right to peacefully assemble. Thank you for making your voices heard and not letting the importance of the message be overshadowed by opportunistic looting or violence as has occurred in some other places.

This should not be an occasion to tear down local businesses or neighborhoods but to change those elements of our system that do not serve us all. To be clear, we have not had violence in Galveston and I hope and trust that we will continue to have peaceful and productive demonstrations.

As mayor of your city, I am open to hearing what things we can do to improve and invite residents to share those ideas."

Police Chief Vernon Hale: “I am disgusted by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Law Enforcement. This is a disturbing scene we have seen far too many times. I offer my heartfelt condolences to Mr. Floyd’s loved ones.

As a department, we are committed to being a professional police organization. We are here to protect our residents and tourists, not to harm them. We strive to provide our officers with both the knowledge and tools to “Protect with Respect” and expect our officers to make ethical decisions based on their training. We also expect them to hold themselves and fellow officers accountable. We will continue to reinforce this expectation while also working with our community to understand what changes we may need.

I fully support the right to peacefully protest and demand change, and we encourage the right of those grieving to protest and be heard as we all search for better solutions. These events have created a lot of emotion and anger, which we empathize with and share. Both of the demonstrations held in Galveston have been peaceful. I ask that as people continue to make their voices heard, they do so in this manner. We cannot allow a few provocateurs to taint that right and create destruction and injury.

While we are not likely to agree on all points and recommendations, we must continue our dialog with the community we serve and make meaningful change where there is common ground.”

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