South Bend Councilman Henry Davis Jr. issues separate statement regarding George Floyd death

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(Photo supplied/City of South Bend)

Members of the South Bend Common Council have penned a statement speaking out about the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, but not all members singed the statement. 2nd District Councilman Henry Davis Jr. says he opted not to sign the statement because, he said, the moment needs more than just a statement. Davis Jr. stated, as council members, they have the power to legislate for transformation and create and pass ordinances that provide safe communities. He says he will stand with his fellow lawmakers on legislation.

Below is the statement released by eight members of the South Bend Common Council:

Members of the South Bend Common Council condemn the brutal public killing of Mr. George Floyd. These are harsh words, but no words are harsh enough to express the anger, frustration, and fear caused by the scenes that have played out on television and social media innumerable times over the past week. We share in the outrage and disappointment regarding the actions of a police officer who continued to force his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck while other officers stood in inactive silence. The only words heard were Mr. Floyd’s, crying “I can’t breathe” and calling for his dead mother.

Some have these feelings because they see it in terms of a black man and a white police officer. Others share these feelings because they see it in terms of a man accused of a minor crime being killed on our streets without even a chance for justice. Still others share these feelings because Mr. Floyd’s death is another example of the disregard some in our society have for human life.

Whatever the precise reason for a person’s feeling of outrage, there is no denying the history of black men being killed by white police officers. That outrage has been, and continues to be, felt locally through the killing of Eric Logan last year. The original outrage is compounded by an investigation into the shooting which left many valid questions unanswered in many people’s minds. This outrage stems from historical injustices and racial disparities that have existed in our country for hundreds of years. It must change and it must change now.

The residents of South Bend apparently understand the problem of uncontrolled and unnecessary violence better than many others. They expressed their outrage, frustration, and fear through peaceful calls for change instead of the violence and property damage caused by a small number of people that played across our television screens over the past weekend. You demonstrated that we are better than that.

Just as the South Bend Common Council continues to fight for change and justice in the wake of condolences expressed for Eric Logan’s family, the Common Council extends its sincere and deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends, as well as to the people of Minneapolis and everywhere else who are struggling to deal with the aftermath of the murder. In doing so, the Council continues to demand justice and dignity for all.

In that regard, the Council will continue to work to eliminate acts of violence between police and residents as we continue to build trust between police and residents. Before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed everything down, the police, the Mayor, citizens, the Board of Public Safety and the Council were working on a policy matrix regarding use of force and equality of justice for all residents of South Bend. The Common Council is also studying and will consider the possibility of a citizen review board for policing in South Bend, together with other legislation working towards inclusive justice.

Below is the statement released by District 2 South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis Jr.:

I appreciate my colleagues and their statement of empathy for George Floyd. However, there are many victims of police abuse and some reside in South Bend. I am not a signatory on the statement because I believe this moment requires more than a statement. We are lawmakers. I believe that our Common Council can legislate for transformation. Our empathy should guide our efforts to create and pass strong ordinances that provide safe communities for Black citizens. We are lawmakers and have the authority to improve unjust, inequitable, and unfair conditions. With that being said, I hope that their statement is a catalyst for the passage of a long sought after Citizens Review Board, our thorough review of the police budget, and stronger community oversight of the police collective bargaining agreement. We are lawmakers and I stand willing to work with my fellow lawmakers on legislation.

4 COMMENTS

  1. If the police really wanted to see people in these communities die all they would have to do is pull out and wait.

    One bad cop committed a murder in a town not ours, in a county not ours, in a state not ours. That bad cop was sheltered by a system…a system run by Democrats. Every city councilman there is a Democrat, the Mayor and Governor too. If there is a systemic problem then it is sheltered and fostered by Democrats.

    How many have been murdered in SB this year? Where is the outrage? It apparently only matters when it can fit a specific (Democrat) agenda. Keep voting for the poverty and murder folks, elections do indeed have consequences.

  2. How a out safe community’s for all citizens ? Not just blacks
    South Bend is a not a nice place to live with all the shootings .
    Stop the wrist slapping . Demand more from the judges and prosecutors. Taking guns away is not the answer . You have to change men’s hearts . You can’t have bibles in school but you can in prison. Little late ?
    Quit blaming the police and siding with the perps because of their color .
    Police should be accountable for their actions but not at the cost of them being
    afraid because some politician wanting to make a name for themselves . The majority
    of the police are hardworking people putting their lives on the line for us . Over the years I have known several officers . I would say 98 % are good people the other 2% should be booted off the force . Citizen complaints need to looked at but not because of color because of validity of their complaint .

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