As the Mayor of the City of Lenoir, I wish to express my thoughts regarding the tragic and unnecessary death of Mr. George Floyd that occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I join many of our neighbors across our communities and our country who are hurting and angry regarding the senseless brutality that led to the death of Mr. Floyd. I am disturbed and saddened by these actions and the tragic loss of life. There are no excuses for the actions of the officers participating in and failing to prevent his death.
The City of Lenoir will not tolerate the police violence apparent in the video regarding Mr. Floyd and the Minneapolis police officers who were on the scene at the time of his death. Our community also will not tolerate racism. Racism and brutality are contrary to the oath of public service that law enforcement officers swear to uphold. Law enforcement officers in our community regularly train to handle themselves in a manner to protect life, secure individual rights, and serve justice to benefit every individual. We are dedicated to ensuring public trust, upholding individual rights, and holding our law enforcement officers to the highest professional standards.
I am thankful for the law enforcement officers within our communities and the services they perform. They work hard and train for many hours to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. The City of Lenoir City Council and I work closely with police leadership. I know that our police leadership does not condone, nor will they tolerate, officers who participate in criminal behavior.
The City of Lenoir stands against all forms of racism and is resolved to take the necessary steps to make our community safe for all citizens and visitors. We have much work to do to remove racial inequity from the administration of justice in our country. We vow to make every effort possible to fight systemic racism in our community.
We also support the rights of those peacefully protesting and honoring the memory of Mr. Floyd and other victims. We are thankful for our residents and community leaders who understand that peaceful protest can bring us together and result in positive change in the future.
We extend our sincere sympathy to the family and loved ones of Mr. Floyd. We support Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frye and his call for justice and accountability.
Joseph L. Gibbons
Mayor, City of Lenoir, NC
Clarification: Mayor Joe Gibbons reached out to the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) to draft a statement for the regional mayors to consider regarding the death of George Floyd. Mayor Gibbons worked with WPCOG staff to author a statement. WPCOG staff sent the draft letter out to the regional mayors, but several had already signed onto different letters. Mayor Gibbons, Mayor Ronnie Thompson of Morganton, and Mayor Barry Hayes of Granite Falls decided to use the draft letter from the WPCOG to express their shared feelings about the incident.