Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy wants to join with the community in showing support in the wake of the national unrest following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers last week.
Floyd, a black man, was suspected of passing a counterfeit bill at a Minneapolis store. He died after a white officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes after he had been handcuffed and was being restrained by three other officers.
Since Floyd’s death, continuing protests have taken place across the country; there have also been incidents of looting and destruction of property.
Murphy wants none of that.
In a video posted on the sheriff department’s Facebook page on June 2, Murphy floated the idea of an organized “unity parade.”
There had been two protests being planned in Livingston County, Murphy said, both of which have since been postponed.
When planning resumes, Murphy had a request: “Let’s not have a protest,” he said. “Let’s have a unity parade.”
The difference, Murphy said, is that a protest assumes two sides: one for, one against. What happened in Minneapolis can’t possibly be a protest because “you are not going to find one person in this world, let alone this county, who can justify the actions of those officers in Minnesota.”
Instead, Murphy said he wanted to take a page from Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson, who walked with protesters in Flint, and offered up his department’s participation in the event and its planning.
“Let’s make it organized. Let us be part of the equation,” he said. “We want to ensure safety for everybody.”
Murphy said his heart aches for many: the family of George Floyd; for business owners who have suffered destruction at the hands of looters; for children who have watched the unrest unfold in the midst of the COVID pandemic; and for law enforcement officers who put on the bad proudly every day.
What happened in Minneapolis “is not how (the officers) were taught.”
In Livingston County, Murphy said the community is supportive of its law enforcement community.
“We get it,” Murphy said. “We don’t want to break that trust.
Stressing that “we are in this together,” Murphy said he wants law enforcement to be part of the planning of any event being planned.
“Let’s make it organized,” he said. “It’s not going to serve any good to show up with a bunch of people and no agenda … please let us be part of the planning.”
“We’ll be right there with you,” he continued. “Nobody is condoning what happened in Minnesota.”
Murphy then offered “prayers for everybody.”
To see Murphy’s video, click here.
Murphy also shared a press release from the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. To read it, click here.