Last week I watched the horrific video of George Floyd being murdered by Minneapolis Police officers. I am sickened by the video. That day my phone immediately became inundated with messages from Verona officers and supervisors sharing their disgust and outrage. It is unfathomable to me, and my Department, that a police officer sworn to protect and to serve could perform such a brutal act. It is criminal that the officers watching failed to intercede.
Yesterday, I joined my fellow Essex County Chiefs and Police Executives as we stood in unity with Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, Newark Police Chief Darnell Henry, Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens, and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura as they condemned the murder of George Floyd by those Minneapolis officers.
In Verona, we are deeply committed to our duty to protect and to serve you, the public. We value our relationship with our community (residents and every person we come in contact with) and continually strive to make Verona a better place.
We provide our officers with intense training to ensure that best practices and safest techniques are used and implemented. Verona Police were one the first departments in the West Essex area to equip our officers with Body Worn Cameras. The cameras are activated on every encounter with any member of the public. Officers receive Use of Force training twice a year in addition to advanced supplemental courses. All Use of Force incidents are documented and reviewed by supervisory staff and submitted to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Bureau. Deviations from the Attorney General Guidelines, including failure to intercede when an officer is seen violating the Guidelines, result in disciplinary actions and/or criminal charges against the offending officers.
The death of George Floyd was appalling, unnecessary, inhumane, tragic and unacceptable. We want to see justice for George Floyd. We support those who seek to make their voices heard through peaceful protest. The actions of all of the officers involved are contrary to the values of the Verona Police Department and hurt all officers because they erode public trust. We know that public trust is earned and we will continue to work hard every day to earn your trust.
I ask everyone to remember the words of President Kennedy from June 11 1963, “I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
Chief of Police