Dorset Police’s Chief Constable James Vaughan has issued a statement to the county’s communities following the death of George Floyd in America.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed face down in the street.
Two other officers further restrained Floyd while a fourth prevented onlookers from intervening. During the final three minutes, Floyd was motionless and had no pulse, but officers made no attempt to revive him and Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even as arriving emergency medical technicians attempted to treat him.
The death of George Floyd has left his family, loved ones and friends devastated and heartbroken. Communities in the United States, here in the United Kingdom and across the world are angry and outraged. For some members of our community, those feelings will also be heightened as they perceive they are truly not wanted in the places where they live and raise their families.
Our experiences here in Dorset during the early stages of COVID-19 saw communities come together to find the positives from tragedy, to reach out to each other and challenge negative behaviour.
This is a time for communities and individuals to overtly speak out in support of those from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities, to reaffirm our collective rejection of racism and hate.
Throughout our policing of COVID-19, Dorset Police has stressed the importance of community and working with our partners and individuals to ensure that the legitimacy of policing is maintained. The principles of neighbourhood policing and long standing within Dorset Police and remain a cornerstone in our communities. That is why, collectively as a force, we align ourselves with those who wish to express their feelings in a peaceful but clear manner.
We should help facilitate that expression of feeling, which occurs at a time of a public health crisis. Dorset Police believes it essential that the core message of standing up against hate and racism should be respected and allowed, while we have the ability to maintain law, order and safety in our communities.
Racism and all forms of discrimination undermine our common humanity and are not acceptable in any civilised society.”James Vaughan, Dorset Police’s Chief Constable
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