As we enter the second week since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day and the ensuing protests nationwide inspired by Floyd's death, the Pleasanton Weekly went back to compile the written statements issued by Tri-Valley leaders about the incident.
Below are public statements we were able to locate from police chiefs, district attorneys, local elected leaders and school district superintendents in the Tri-Valley in recent days that reflect on Floyd's death and its impact on society.
This list can be updated if/when remaining officials issue any first statement on Floyd's killing, or as new information about previous statements is brought to our attention. Here are the statements, chronologically:
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley on May 29
The last few days have been deeply painful as we grieve the murder of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd died needlessly, and I share the pain of the nation as we bear witness to his death.
From what I saw in the video those police officers should be arrested and charged. Their actions were neither warranted, justified, nor lawful under the circumstances. Mr. Floyd was a father, a son, a brother, a community member, and a human being, and there must be accountability for his brutal killing. My heart goes out to his family and community who have suffered an incomprehensible loss.
We as a nation cannot accept a status quo where unarmed African Americans continue to be killed by law enforcement. We should not settle for systems where there is no accountability for police officers who abuse their power. We must call out for immediate justice for George Floyd.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley on May 31
Mr. George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed African American man, was mercilessly and brutally killed by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. It is hard to understand why Chauvin was employed by the Minneapolis Police Department, as it has been revealed that he had at least 18 prior incidents of misconduct known to the Department leaders. Only after the senseless killing of Mr. Floyd did the Chief of Police fire Chauvin.
On behalf of and with the members of my Office, I extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family, friends and his community. We join those who raise their voices against police brutality, racism and inequity.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is comprised of a diverse group of professionals. We are united in our condemnation of racism, racial profiling, or bigotry in our society and particularly in the justice system. Through our policy developments, we are committed to continuing to dismantle generations of inequity and inequality. We continue to build systems of justice that uncover implicit bias and we embrace and uphold a justice system that is fair, equal and equitable for all. We work with members of our community to ensure fair justice, including providing alternatives to incarceration and resources for those caught up in the criminal justice system to support their choice of the future direction of their lives. We work with victims of crime to support, empower and provide resources to support their movement beyond victimization.
Thousands of individuals came together Friday to what began as a peaceful, meaningful and solemn protest in Oakland. They established a space in which to express shared outrage and grief over the brutal killing of Mr. Floyd. Without question, the people who took to the streets to denounce police brutality and the horrific killing had the absolute right to publicly decry their outrage. Their voices and their messages are important and must be heard. With great misfortune, the evening turned to one of violence and destruction. Individuals, some of whom are believed to be outsiders to Oakland, appeared hell bent on hijacking the moment. The protest turned into a spree of looting and vandalism. Two men, working as security at the Oakland Federal Building, were senselessly gunned down by people in a white van. One of the victims, David Patrick Underwood, an African American man, was killed. The other remains in the hospital.
The violence returned on Saturday night. Outright looting of stores, such as Best Buy, Target and Walgreens as well as destruction of locally owned restaurants, buildings and stores, distracting from the message the protesters aimed to convey.
As District Attorney of Alameda County, I wholeheartedly support the individual’s right to protest, to gather peacefully and to demonstrate. Protests over the decade have led to hugely important societal change.
Sadly, the local and national dialogue shifted from the important issues of racism, police brutality and the unjust killing of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement. Rather, all eyes turned to the destruction wrought by out-of-control vandals. Moving forward, my office and I will continue to work with our community, we will continue to create programs and policies that support victims of crime and we will continue to assist those who are justice involved to move beyond the criminal justice system. We will continue to provide opportunities for young people to build skills and build hope for a bright and safe future.
Livermore Police Chief Michael Harris on May 31
Like so many of you, we were shocked and saddened after watching the video of the officer from the Minneapolis Police Department kneeling on the neck of George Floyd during an arrest that ended in his death.
We want our community to know that the actions taken by the officers on that video were wrong, are not how we train or what we expect from our officers and in fact go against what wearing the badge represents.
LPD sends our condolences to the Floyd family and to all who have been impacted by this tragedy and we remain committed to service with honor and protection with purpose.
Livermore Mayor John Marchand on June 1
Our nation is outraged over the unjust killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin. I am outraged. What Chauvin did was reprehensible and it was compounded by his partners blatantly disregarding their oath "to serve and protect."
In Livermore we stand up for justice. We welcome peaceful protest and honest community dialogue. Public safety continues to be our top priority. Racism and bigotry are not acceptable. Violence is not acceptable. As Robert Kennedy said, if you want peace, work for justice. All of us must lead by example, to live that change and ensure that injustice cannot, does not, and will not happen in Livermore.
San Ramon Police Chief Craig Stevens on June 1
(Stevens released a three-minute video statement via Facebook. Click through this link to view; here is an excerpt.)
Frankly, as a profession, believe me we are as appalled as everyone else is about what happened to Mr. Floyd. The first time I saw it, I'm sure like all of you, I was physically sickened to see what occurred. The actions of those officers in Minneapolis are not the way that we train, certainly not in our department, they are not techniques that we utilize.
What we witnessed with George Floyd, there is no place for it in our profession. It has certainly cast a dark cloud over our entire profession. That is going to take a lot of work and effort on the part of law enforcement throughout the world to try to overcome and get past this.
Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton on June 2
I am heartbroken and horrified by the murder of George Floyd and the other unjust deaths of Black men and women in this country. As the chief law enforcement official of Contra Costa, I took an oath to ensure justice for everyone under the law. The fight for justice does not end at the borders of our County or in our communities. We all have a responsibility to speak out against and eradicate injustices wherever we find them. The officers responsible for the murder of George Floyd must be held accountable.
The right to peacefully assemble and protest are a vital part of the fabric of this nation, and the majority of participants have been peaceful and even inspiring. I am disappointed that the righteous marches and gatherings are being infiltrated and hijacked by a small minority of people with other agendas. The individuals who are exploiting the pain, and the cause of so many in our community by committing acts of violence and destruction will be held accountable. We must not let the acts of the detractors deter us from the issue at hand. We must never stop working to eradicate racism and bring about systematic change throughout all systems, especially in our criminal justice system. I will continue to fight for criminal justice reform not only just in Contra Costa but throughout this nation.”
Pleasanton Unified School District Superintendent David Haglund on June 2
As your Superintendent and a lifelong educator, I felt a moral imperative to reach out to you regarding the deep pain and grief that is being experienced locally and in communities across the country following the public death of George Floyd.
Please know that we stand together for equity and community, and our educators and leaders continue to do critical work driven by our PUSD mission that our students will make a better world. We too must join them in that work. The institutional racism and systemic bias that continues to be exposed in events like those of the past month are sobering reminders of why this work is so important.
The difficult and uncomfortable nature of these conversations are only offset by their importance. Public education plays a critical role in these conversations, and our educators and leaders are doing incredible work in this area - in many ways fueled by the passion of our students. However, if we are to truly move this conversation forward towards meaningful change, it becomes critical that we all have these conversations with our students.
To that end, please find a few resources below that can help.
I encourage you to sit down as a family and talk about what students may be seeing or hearing on the news and in social media. Help them sort through the noise to find the values you embrace as a family, as well as those we share as a community. With so much uncertainty in the world today, we must work together to ensure our young people can clearly see a path toward equity and inclusion that emphasizes justice, kindness, and hope.
Finally, we are aware of a planned demonstration in response to the tragic death of George Floyd that is set to occur in Pleasanton later this week. I was heartened to hear of the peaceful event that occurred in Dublin yesterday, and I believe that this will also be true in our community. If you choose to participate, please be safe and respectful. Protect yourself and your family by wearing a mask and be thoughtful of personal space and social distancing, as you gather.
Thank you for your continued support of our students, and for the dignity and belonging of each member of our community.
San Ramon Valley Unified School District Superintendent Rick Schmitt on June 2
I know that we are all deeply affected by the recent public death of George Floyd. The reaction of so many in this country has created a ground swell that, as educators, we have an obligation to acknowledge and act upon. I reach out today to reassure our community that we are listening. We see you. We hear you.
The SRVUSD education community stands united in its commitment to combat racism, bigotry, bias and discrimination in all forms. As a District, we have done much work in this area, but we fully accept that we can do more. Our schools have an important role to play in making sure that the change that we need to see can come to fruition. If we are truly going to make progress in eliminating racism, we must understand its history in our country and talk about it openly. I am proud of the educators in our District for their unwavering commitment to address these topics as part of their everyday work. I am proud of the students of this district, who have driven much of the work that has been done.
As a District, we are committed to reevaluating our practices to further these conversations so that they lead to real change. As our partners in your child’s education, I encourage you, as families, to talk with your children about what they may be seeing or hearing with regard to these incidents. Reinforce the ideals and beliefs that you embrace as a family. Talk about how those ideals and beliefs translate into the community and everyday life. Please remind your students that they have the ability to make a positive impact. Each act of kindness, each denouncement of racism, hatred or discrimination paves a path for healing and empowers them to make a difference.
The issues that we are tackling are deeply rooted in our society. The path to equity is paved in the actions of the many. Through their actions, we are witnesses to democracy. We are witnesses to the power of the collective voice. As a District, we hear this voice, we see these actions and we commit to furthering our work with students to denounce racism and promote justice for all.
City of Pleasanton joint statement on June 3
During this time, no one can stand silent. Let us be clear and direct about where the City of Pleasanton stands: the killing of George Floyd is reprehensible. With others, we grieve for George Floyd, for his family and friends, and the community. We call upon all cities to stand up to blatant acts of racism in our society and our institutions.
The City of Pleasanton supports the ideals and goals of demonstrators who have come together in recent days to assemble peaceably to educate and advocate and who seek justice in our world. We will protect First Amendment rights that allow freedom of speech and peaceful protests. We will also protect our residents and businesses who have invested so much in Pleasanton and will safeguard our community from those using violence to distract from the critical message of this moment.
Leadership calls out broken systems and works to fix them. Leadership says we see you and we hear you. We encourage constructive dialogue and genuine engagement through our interactions with one another to decide together how we – as a community – make our city a better place. Let us work together to find meaningful ways to honor the life of George Floyd, and let that collective work reflect the community we strive to be.
The City of Pleasanton and our police department stand with you.
-- Pleasanton Mayor and Council
-- Pleasanton City Manager
-- Pleasanton Police Chief
-- Pleasanton Police Officers Association
Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dave Marken on June 4
Dear DUSD Community and Staff,
Congratulations! You have made it through one of the most challenging school years imaginable. Somehow, our community, working together, managed to promote and graduate over 12,000 students. With that monumental task behind us, Summer is here and it should be a time of celebration. Yet for many of us, that’s not the case.
The death of George Floyd, and so many others, has opened deep national wounds that were far from healed. The pain, frustration, and anger of generations of inequality and oppression are visible across our country today. What we are experiencing can be daunting, scary, and depressing, and it can be easy to want the moment to pass, but don’t. Don’t let it pass. For decades, we have let it pass.
While I don’t have the answers, I know it’s too easy to become absorbed in our own lives. Doing so kills empathy and compassion for others. When we shut out the world’s problems we simply allow them to grow. When we keep our eyes open and allow ourselves to think of others, to attempt to understand others, and to communicate with others, our world has a chance to improve.
One thing I love about working in education is the idealism of youth. It’s so refreshing to see, on a daily basis, the vision of those that have not become jaded. That is where hope lies. It’s where the solutions to immense problems can be found. While it can be easy to want to teach our children, we often overlook the opportunity to learn from them.
Now is the time to learn from those that are filled with optimism. It is the time to reach out to others that are outside your typical circle, to those that may, at times, feel marginalized. Don’t underestimate the power of compassion, a caring act, a gentle touch, a friendly smile, or an “are you okay?” Small gestures can be the start of great things.
For those, like me, who lived through the 60s, these times feel eerily familiar. Worse, it saddens me that such little progress has been made, but I believe there is hope.
Robert Kennedy once said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
That tiny ripple of hope is within all of us.
Dublin Police Chief Garrett Holmes on June 4
Like many of you, I was shocked and horrified by the reprehensible incident that took place in Minneapolis last week. The killing of George Floyd by a police officer was unconscionable. This is not how we train and not what I expect from the men and women who serve our community. Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd and all other families who have had to face similar tragedies.
Actions like those of the Minneapolis officers erode the trust that good, decent, and honorable police officers have worked hard to build in this community and across the country. In Dublin, we have spent a considerable amount of time and resources in building strong relationships with the community. Through our regular “Coffee with a Cop” dates; “Coffee with the Chief” visits at the Dublin Farmers’ Market; and through the incredible work that is done by our School Resource Officers, who interact with our children daily, we are invested in creating positive connections.
We are honored to have such wonderful support from the Dublin community, and that is not something we take lightly. We remain steadfast in our commitment to protect and serve every single member of this community, treating all with dignity and respect, especially those who have experienced racial disparity.
We will continue to work to build trust in our community, and we are very open to receiving feedback when we fall short. We will continue to honor Mr. Floyd’s name by working to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Dublin City Council on June 5
Like most people throughout the country and the world, we were horrified and deeply troubled by the wrongful and needless death of George Floyd at the hands of those who were sworn to protect him. It breaks our hearts, as we face the knowledge that racial and social injustice are still prevalent in our country today. We also acknowledge that no city, police force, or institution can remain complacent in the face of discrimination and wrongdoing.
We are not a large city, but we do have a civic duty, a moral obligation, and a commitment to do our part. As the elected governing body of the City of Dublin, we re-affirm our values of fairness, inclusivity, and equal opportunity for all. We stand united against hate. We also value you as friends and neighbors, and we care deeply about your health, safety, and welfare. We will continue to look for ways to embrace and celebrate our diversity and to create opportunities for all.
Earlier this week, many of us in the city took part in a peaceful protest led by young members of our community. It reaffirmed our faith that these young people, heralded as the leaders of tomorrow, are already leading the charge for change today. We stand in solidarity with them and want to send a clear message of our commitment to ensure that racism, discrimination, and violence have no place in our city. We will continue to work to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We are also asking for those that did participate to self-quarantine for 14 days to ensure that we beat COVID-19, which has disproportionately affected communities of color.
It must also be said that we are strong supporters of our public safety personnel, including the members of Dublin Police Services. When they put on that uniform, they know that they are risking their lives to protect us and to keep us safe. They are deeply invested in our community, and we know that they, too, are committed to being part of the solution. That being said, we also expect and demand that they remain fair and objective while they protect and serve, and promote safety above all else.
We know that change cannot happen overnight, but we are committed to having conversations to ensure peace and justice for all.