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South Bend Police Chief shares statement on George Floyd protests

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—The South Bend Chief of Police released a statement on Monday following a weekend of protests over the death of George Floyd.

Chief Scott Ruszkowski released the following statement:

“Reflecting on the actions taken by former officers in Minnesota and absorbing the messages our community made over the weekend and previously, I feel it is finally the right time to express my thoughts.

Let me be clear, I am sickened and quite frankly disgusted by what I too witnessed by the former officers in Minnesota. We have never trained that way nor will we ever, and any or all of the other officers should have stepped in. Any ounce of human decency would have and should have been enacted to stop what occurred.

I absolutely agree there are daily injustices in our country and have been for decades, even centuries. From employment to housing to education and yes, policing. I know some people say or think all cops are bad, that simply is not true.

What is true, we need to do a better job of weeding out the bad ones. If good cops know there are bad ones, I rhetorically ask, where are those good cops? Granted, nobody can know what every cop is doing 24/7/365, but other cops do. If they are silent, they are worse. If they stay silent, the silence grows.

The bad ones allow the true meaning of the “thin blue line” to be wrongfully used against those who not only believe in what it stands for, but live (and died) for what it means; that thin line between order and chaos, that ‘line’ of help to those who need it and count on us to give itanything contrary is not only a disservice to the badge, it’s also hypocritical to the sworn oath we all took, and finally it’s just plain wrong.

So, how do we move forward? We need to advance together and continue working together. We DO NOT police our community, we do not police FOR our community, we police WITH our community. When you hear the chant “whose streets, our streets”, those chanting are 100% correct. These streets belong to the community and we are community members too. We help in/on the streets, homes and businesses based on what the community tells us. We represent the community 24/7/365 and we are EXPECTED do our job as EXPECTED [by our community].

Factually and literally, we do get it right almost every single time, but if or when we do get it wrong, it is up to us, because of you, to find out why and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

I also know, as does our community, a mistake of the heart or head trying to do right is one thing. An intentional ill or wrongful act of the heart or head will always be wrong, and something needs to be done about it.

Just know, I hear you, we hear you. We have been and will always be willing to work with you to make every single community member feel safe in our city, and with solidarity and mutual acceptance South Bend can be the example everyone is looking for…and desperately needs.”

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