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Mayor's Message on Death of George Floyd
Citizens of Chesapeake,
As a lifelong resident of this City, and as your Mayor, I am proud to say that Chesapeake is my home. The cornerstone to that pride comes from you, the people who live and work in our community. We are people who care about one another and work hard to build not just a place to live, but a community in which we can learn from and share with one another. We strive to be better than we were yesterday, with an eye always on the new challenges of tomorrow.
It is in this spirit of community that I want to discuss the deplorable acts which took place recently in Minnesota, and the equally senseless acts of violence happening in many cities as a result. The manner in which Mr. Floyd was treated would outrage any reasonable person and anger over his death is certainly justified. It is something so alien to the "Chesapeake way" as to be almost incomprehensible. I am hopeful that the individuals involved in this heinous act will be made to answer to the full measure of law, and that the Floyd family may continue to be uplifted in prayer and supported by the community. Nothing can erase the terrible loss this family has suffered, but we can and must do all we can to ensure such a thing is never repeated.
We in Chesapeake are blessed with a strong, positive, and citizen-focused Police Department whose leader, Chief Kelvin Wright, places the highest priority upon officers being a visible, tangible, active part of the community. For CPD, "Community Policing" isn't just a fancy term, it's a way of life and the foundation for how they operate on a daily basis. Our officers are not just "in" the community, they are part of the community. It is those relationships, built upon mutual trust and mutual respect, that help to keep us safe and secure in our city.
Are we perfect in how we handle policing, or any other City service? No, we aren't, for the simple reason that we are all human. I am certain Chief Wright would be the first to echo that sentiment. We make mistakes, we do things we wish we hadn't, we say things we'd like to take back. The difference is, we take responsibility for our actions, we own the issues, and we try constantly to learn from today so tomorrow will be better. We're never going to please 100% of the people - that's just not possible. And some people we please today will get angry with us tomorrow. We understand and respect that, just as we respect that every person we meet has things happening in their personal lives we can't possibly know or understand. Just like everyone, though, City staff and our Police do their best, day in and day out, to be fair, honest, transparent, and most of all, caring.
At this difficult time in our country and our world, with the continuing challenges of COVID-19 and now this new, yet all too familiar, issue of civil unrest, I would ask you to pause a moment and remember what it means to be a Chesapeake citizen. Think upon the many positives in our community and the people who make us great. Perhaps if we can focus upon those things, we can more clearly see the way to a peaceful, respectful, and safe outcome for us all. I am proud to be a Chesapeake citizen, and I thank you for helping make Chesapeake, truly, the City that Cares.