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South Bend Common Council members release statement about George Floyd

Eight members of the South Bend Common Council sent a joint statement regarding the death of George Floyd.

The council's ninth member, Henry Davis Jr, issued a separate statement.

Justice and Dignity for All

Members of the South Bend Common Council condemn the brutal public killing of Mr. George Floyd. These are harsh words, but no words are harsh enough to express the anger, frustration, and fear caused by the scenes that have played out on television and social media innumerable times over the past week. We share in the outrage and disappointment regarding the actions of a police officer who continued to force his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck while other officers stood in inactive silence. The only words heard were Mr. Floyd's, crying "I can't breathe" and calling for his dead mother.

Some have these feelings because they see it in terms of a black man and a white police officer. Others share these feelings because they see it in terms of a man accused of a minor crime being killed on our streets without even a chance for justice. Still others share these feelings because Mr. Floyd's death is another example of the disregard some in our society have for human life.

Whatever the precise reason for a person's feeling of outrage, there is no denying the history of black men being killed by white police officers. That outrage has been, and continues to be, felt locally through the killing of Eric Logan last year. The original outrage is compounded by an investigation into the shooting which left many valid questions unanswered in many people's minds. This outrage stems from historical injustices and racial disparities that have existed in our country for hundreds of years. It must change and it must change now.

The residents of South Bend apparently understand the problem of uncontrolled and unnecessary violence better than many others. They expressed their outrage, frustration, and fear through peaceful calls for change instead of the violence and property damage caused by a small number of people that played across our television screens over the past weekend. You demonstrated that we are better than that.

Just as the South Bend Common Council continues to fight for change and justice in the wake of condolences expressed for Eric Logan's family, the Common Council extends its sincere and deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd's family and friends, as well as to the people of Minneapolis and everywhere else who are struggling to deal with the aftermath of the murder. In doing so, the Council continues to demand justice and dignity for all.

In that regard, the Council will continue to work to eliminate acts of violence between police and residents as we continue to build trust between police and residents. Before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed everything down, the police, the Mayor, citizens, the Board of Public Safety and the Council were working on a policy matrix regarding use of force and equality of justice for all residents of South Bend. The Common Council is also studying and will consider the possibility of a citizen review board for policing in South Bend, together with other legislation working towards inclusive justice.

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