The Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a resolution supporting local law enforcement as well as activists protesting the killing of George Floyd.
Supervisor Don Wagner proposed the resolution.
“It has rightly incensed so many people around this country, who are now taking to the streets in protest of that violence,” Wagner said of Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
“But it’s also important to try in this resolution to recognize there are good men and women on the front line of law enforcement,” Wagner said.
Wagner characterized the arrest, with one officer holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, 46 seconds as he complained he could not breathe and cried out for help, as “thuggish behavior.”
Wagner added that local law enforcement “are doing a very difficult, but by and large very professional job” as they respond to multiple protests that have sprung up after the death of Floyd and others in recent weeks.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said there have been “well over three dozen” protests “with more to come.”
Barnes said his “primary objective” is to “support the First Amendment rights of people peacefully protesting.”
Barnes said he was “very proud of the professionalism and restraint” shown by his department “over the past two weeks.”
Barnes said he has never seen a police technique involving placing a knee on the neck of a suspect.
“I’ve never seen that so-called technique used in Minneapolis,” Barnes said. “It’s not a technique we train for her… nor is it anything I would condone. If I ever saw any of my officers use that use of force for eight minutes… I would have walked him straight to the District Attorney’s Office for filing.
“It was unforgivable the actions that took place there, but that is not something we do here. That is not something that would ever be condoned and should be condemned.”
Supervisor Doug Chaffee said he was “very pleased” Barnes’ department would not use that type of force.
Chaffee asked that instead of saying the resolution supports African Americans and “people of color,” Chaffee asked that it be rewritten to substitute “black members of our community” instead of African American, because not all black people trace their ancestry to Africa.
“We need to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” Chaffee said.
Wagner said he “struggled” with the revision because Floyd was a “member of the African American community,” and the resolution included “people of color.”
Wagner added that the protests include “not solely black people, but people of all colors, rightly, thankfully.”
Wagner said he accepted Chaffee’s revision to change the characterization of the arrest as “inexcusable treatment” to “brutal” and “resulting in his death.”
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