Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer and the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association today condemned the killing of George Floyd.
“The West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association stands for the protection of the rights of all citizens and is deeply saddened and troubled about the events that we have seen occur and unfold in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” the group said in an open letter released today. “West Virginia Sheriffs expect and demand all law enforcement officers to always conduct themselves in a professional and lawful manner. These higher standards of conduct require reserving the use of force, especially deadly force, only for those times when its use is absolutely necessary and lawful.”
“The West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association condemns these unprofessional, immoral, and egregious actions we have seen. We have seen the same video of the death of George Floyd as you. These actions are unacceptable, and we expect those to immediately be held accountable and call for swift and appropriate action by the law enforcement community and the criminal justice system to address violations.”
“We extend our deepest sympathies to George Floyd, his family, and the citizens of Minnesota. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved as well as the true law enforcement community across our country that live up to their oath and creed to serve and protect their communities with respect, courage, and dedication to their fellow citizens each and every day.”
The letter was signed by fourteen West Virginia county sheriffs, members of the board of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, including two from the Eastern Panhandle – Morgan County Sheriff Bohrer and Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Doughterty. The letter was also signed by retired Sheriff Rodney Miller, executive director of the Association.
“We see the media like everyone else,” Miller told Morgan County USA. “Our position was if we are able to deal with issues on the front side and have a dialogue, it’s much easier to sit down and talk and try to work toward a solution than to have to respond. We like to think that we can handle things better in West Virginia than have to resort to violence. If we can head that off, that is what we would like to do.”
“This is a difficult time in the law enforcement profession as we work to build and retain public trust, and we must ensure that prejudice or violence have no place in our society,” the Sheriffs said. “It has no place in West Virginia. We work to provide education and training to sheriffs and their personnel. The acts displayed in this video are inexcusable and totally contrary to the training provided to law enforcement officers in our State.”
“We know the vast majority of the public support our Sheriffs, deputies, and officers in the various departments. We continue to be humbled and honored by that support. We will always be here to serve and protect our communities, but it is a partnership based on trust, communication, and respect between the community and those that serve their communities. Without that mutual respect and understanding, we have nothing.”
“We have a system of justice in this country that must be given the chance to work no matter how angry people may be. Everyone must come together to work toward resolving our issues. We all must be part of a solution, not a problem. We accept our responsibility and look forward to having that continued dialog and movement to make West Virginia a leader in this effort.”
“We, the members of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association hold ourselves and our deputies to this higher standard. We will tolerate nothing less.”