|Message from Sheriff David P. Decatur|
|By Public Information Officer Amanda Vicinanzo|
|May 30, 2020|
Stafford County Sheriff David P. Decatur would like to share a message with the community regarding the death of George Floyd.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These are the words that come to mind as we contemplate a great injustice that has rattled the nation over the past several days. Although the death of George Floyd took place hundreds of miles from Stafford County, the impact of this injustice has reverberated across the nation including here in our community. Alongside our community, we watched with horror the chilling video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for a prolonged period of time as he pleaded for help and yelled “I can’t breathe.” Several officers stood nearby—doing nothing—as George Floyd took his last breath and died at the hands of the officers who took an oath to protect and serve their communities.
On the heels of such a grave injustice and indescribable tragedy, we cannot do nothing. We cannot be silent. When most law enforcement officers wake up in the morning and put on their badge, they recognize the tremendous responsibility and honor of protecting and serving their community. Each day, they pour their hearts and souls into serving their communities. Sometimes, that means arresting a criminal, but, most of the time, it means stopping to help an elderly resident change a tire or tying a child’s shoelaces or using their own money to buy a football for a group of children who didn’t have presents under the Christmas tree. When that officer kneeled on the neck of George Floyd and watched him take his last breath, he tarnished the badge and abdicated his duty to his community. Even worse, the killing of George Floyd has bled fear into the African American community and incited concerns that every law enforcement officer is like the one who pinned George Floyd to the ground as he screamed for help.
Today, we want to assure the community that racism, hate, and excessive use of force by law enforcement will find no home in Stafford County. We will not tolerate such a blatant disregard for human life and will work tirelessly to ensure the fair and impartial treatment of all residents regardless of their ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion, age, or socioeconomic class. All our residents will be treated with dignity and respect. Our deputies have been and will continue to be instructed in the core values of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office—fairness, compassion, professionalism, and integrity. We will also continue to protect the rights and civil liberties of others by upholding the constitution of Virginia and the United States. We will not fail our community.
Our deepest condolences go out to George Floyd’s family and friends. You will be in our thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.
Sheriff David P. Decatur