GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Over the past several days, law enforcement agencies across southern Oregon have issued statements condemning the tactics used by Minneapolis Police that led to the death of George Floyd. Several of those agencies have also taken aim at protesters around the country that have destroyed property or looted.
Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel addressed the matter in a statement on Monday, beginning with an indictment of the officers involved in Floyd's death.
"The actions and tactics used by the officers were reprehensible, inhumane and outright criminal," Daniel said. "Once the handcuffs go on, tactics [should] change and the care and welfare of a resistive subject moves to the forefront. This is how law enforcement in Oregon is taught."
Over the weekend, both Grants Pass and Klamath Falls were subject to rumors of people from out of town coming into the area "in preparation of rioting." While nothing violent or destructive materialized in either city, Daniel addressed the rumors.
"The threat spread fear and panic throughout our great county, but we responded," Daniel said. "We stood side by side with our citizens and took a stand. 'Not here, not now.' We will not be distracted from the mission of improving public safety service and transparency in law enforcement across this nation."
In Klamath Falls on Sunday night, both police and armed residents showed up downtown as protesters gathered. Ahead of the protest, Chief of Police David Henslee issued a statement of this own.
"Those planning on participating in lawful protests are encouraged to do so. Make your voice heard and take a stand for your beliefs. We will do our very best to make certain you are free to exercise your rights without fear of harm," Henslee said. "Those planning on unlawful violent protests are encouraged to rethink your plans. We will not tolerate any acts of violence or vandalism. We will arrest and prosecute people who endanger our community."
Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber issued a statement on Monday addressing the demonstration, acknowledging that the result was largely peaceful.
"This morning the sun has come up and with the dawn of a new day we look at downtown Klamath Falls and see no remnants of last night’s activities," Kaber said. "Yesterday many of our friends and neighbors, as well as out of town 'guests,' came out to express various points of view and exercise the freedoms that make our country the greatest in the world. While there were times last night when words got heated and tensions rose there was largely peaceful expression in Klamath Falls. I could not be more proud of our citizens and our brave law enforcement officers who helped keep the peace last night."
Medford Police Chief Scott Clauson posted his statement on Sunday morning, listing his agency's commitments to the community.
"We will continue to listen, not defend, but truly listen to the needs of our diverse community," Clauson said. "We will continue to teach our own Core Values of Community, Professionalism, and Respect with a goal of fostering a culture of care and compassion for our community. We will continue to promote supervisors that can teach those values to their Officers and hold them accountable when they make a mistake. Supervisors must work to develop leaders below them, so that officers are empowered to step in when a situation becomes uncomfortable, even if the supervisor is not on scene. We will continue to hire the best individuals for the job, provide psychological testing, and weed out those that don’t belong in this profession."