EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Easthampton and police department Monday night released a statement regarding the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
In a joint statement, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and police Chief Robert Alberti said they “stand with other policing professionals and local governments across the Commonwealth and nation in strongly denouncing this egregious behavior and sending our deepest condolences to the victims’ families.”
Thousands of people across the county have been protesting for justice, the end to police brutality and criminal justice reform after video showed Floyd, a black man, crying for help while a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, resulting in his death.
Three other members of the police department were on site as the incident happened.
On Thursday at 4 p.m., the city will hold an “eight and a half kneel wherever you may be in Easthampton,” event “in memory of those all lost due to brutality and protest the death of George Floyd.”
You can read Mayor LaChapelle and Chief Alberti’s full statement below:
The recent protests, pain, loss, and fear across the country stem from hundreds of years of injustice and perpetuated inequality. No part of our nation is immune or removed from racism – including Easthampton.
The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are just the most recent, most public examples of the heavy reality of racism that our non-white neighbors live with every day. At their best, honorable police officers protect and serve their communities. But distrust of police grows as we witness officers grossly abusing their power and waging violent, criminal actions. On behalf of the Easthampton Police Department and the City, we stand with other policing professionals and local governments across the Commonwealth and nation in strongly denouncing this egregious behavior and sending our deepest condolences to the victims’ families.
A scathing light is yet again shed on unchecked hate — we as Americans cannot let that light fade until hate is expelled from our society. Make no mistake: this hard, often heart-breaking work.
As the Mayor and Police Chief of Easthampton, we set the tone, tenor, and implementation of our city’s commitment to safety, tolerance, equity. We hold no delusion that our leadership is perfect or that the City is without the darkness of injustice, racism, and hate. We both stand as steadfast allies of people who face discrimination, prejudice, and fear of violence because of the color of their skin, gender, orientation, or religion. We carry that responsibility seriously, along with a responsibility to relentlessly self-examine Easthampton’s government and hold accountable those who believe they are above or outside the law.
Most importantly, we must work harder to live these words in our roles. We need to listen to people who know the ugliness of racism and discrimination too well. We need to use what power we have to publicly call out and counter the systemic hate and violence that threatens our common humanity.
In that spirit, join us this Thursday at 4:00 pm to take an eight and half kneel wherever you may be in Easthampton. Small groups will be gathering around the City to kneel in memory of those all lost due to brutality and protest the death of George Floyd.Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and Easthampton Police Chief Robert Alberti