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Law enforcement, city leaders issue statements of solidarity to protesters

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Town Crier File Photo
A Mountain View police officer and a Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office deputy team up during a traffic enforcement effort. Both local departments have issued statements against the Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd May 25.

The agencies that police Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View have released statements condemning the actions of police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd May 25 and promising better law-enforcement practices than those displayed during that incident.

Los Altos Mayor Jan Pepper, Police Chief Andy Galea and City Manager Chris Jordan signed a “message of unity” released on social media Wednesday (June 5). Addressing their “Los Altos friends,” the three leaders called the movement an act of “justifiable outrage” caused by a shared grief over Floyd’s death.

“What we witnessed does not embody these values upheld by our city and police department,” the message said. “We do not teach, support or condone this behavior and take pride in our police officers serving with humanity and respect. Los Altos officers are trained to de-escalate situations for the safety of every individual involved.”

Pepper, Galea and Jordan acknowledged that the relationship between law enforcement and communities nationwide has been “tainted” and will take time to fix. A pledge to continue to learn how to “police better” was included.

Peaceful protest is a citizen’s right, the leaders said in the joint letter, but they requested people to “unite as one to respectfully honor the life and memory of every person whose life has been unjustly stolen away” and not replicate the looting and rioting that have occurred in other cities.

Mtn. View shows support

The Mountain View Police Department issued a statement Monday (June 1) highlighting the city’s diverse population and how it should be used to acknowledge challenges as well as “work together to build one another up and move ever forward.” Mountain View Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga directly called Floyd’s death a result of institutionalized racism that plagues the country and applauded Mountain View for its efforts to “ensure it is a community for all.”

Police Chief Max Bosel issued his own statement just a few days prior as “a solemn vow to uphold the expectations of the community regarding officer conduct.”

“This aberrant, inexcusable, and inexplicable incident has angered the policing profession,” Bosel said. “It goes against the tremendous service many peace officers across this nation perform each and every day.”

Deputy Police Chief Chris Hsiung added that officers should always act in accordance with the oath they took their first day on the job: to protect and serve.

“We, as a profession, must honor that,” Hsiung said. “We must be better. We must never stop trying to be better. And we must continue to build trust and dialogue with the communities we serve.”

Mountain View officials concluded their statement with a link to the department’s policies, procedures and policing plan. All can be accessed at mvpd.gov.

Hills vows to build trust

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, which serves Los Altos Hills and several other cities, posted a statement from Sheriff Laurie Smith May 29 that called Floyd’s death “disturbing” and “heartbreaking to watch.”

“Let me be clear that the actions of a few officers do not represent the brave men and women that selflessly serve and protect the county of Santa Clara,” Smith said. “The Sheriff’s Office remains dedicated to building trust and continuing our partnerships with the community.”

For coverage of local protests scheduled this week, follow the Town Crier on social media – @latc on Twitter and @LosAltosTownCrier on Facebook. For the most up-to-date information on demonstrations in the area, visit losaltosonline.com.

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