On Friday, May 29, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association was one of many voices across the nation commenting on the highly disturbing death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis restaurant security guard who was killed by a police officer kneeling down on his neck for an extended period of time.
Floyd, a black man, died from the actions of the white officer and the event led to national anger directed against the officers involved and also led to rioting in Minneapolis.
The statement from the association reads, “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.”
The Sheriff’s Association went on to state that, though its members aren’t privy to the information in the full investigation, the actions seen on the videotape were obviously unacceptable.
“The video clearly shows unprofessional and egregious conduct by law enforcement officers,” it states. “This type of law enforcement conduct cannot be tolerated and must be swiftly addressed by the law enforcement community and the criminal justice system.”
It went on to state, “The law enforcement conduct displayed in this video is inexcusable and totally contrary to the training provided to law enforcement officers in North Carolina.”
The NC Sheriffs’ Association provides education and training to sheriffs and their staffs across the state – which is no doubt one reason the organization felt a need to weigh in after the tragic death in Minnesota. The association, as part of that training, tries to help law enforcement officers build positive relationships with the people in the community that they protect.
“This type of egregious misconduct by a few officers erodes the respect citizens have for all officers,” the statement reads. “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.”
The statement also said that the association extends its deepest sympathies to Floyd, his family, the citizens and the businesses of Minneapolis, as well as to “the law enforcement community that live up to their oath and creed of respect, courage, dedication, and service to protect and serve their community.”