OXNARD, Calif. - Oxnard Police Department Chief Scott Whitney shared a solemn message on Facebook regarding George Floyd's death, mistrust of the police and more.
The post was made around 5 p.m. on Friday and can be read in its entirety below:
This past week has been another busy one for me. The top of the list included honoring my first wife who died 22 years ago and would have turned 50 years old on Tuesday; notifying employees of upcoming budget cuts and position eliminations; continuing to rebalance our response to the COVID virus; and working to identify new strategies to address recent crime increases. Very rarely do I comment on national issues. There is plenty of work that needs my attention locally and there are plenty of pundits at the national level.
My mind was changed this morning after getting many messages from friends, faith leaders and other community leaders about the death of George Floyd. I asked my teenage daughter if she thought I should weigh in and she immediately said yes because “everybody my age hates the police right now.” While speaking with the president of the Ventura County chapter of the NAACP, she also agreed that a post would be helpful.
In my 31st year of policing and toward the end of my career, it breaks my heart to see these types of incidents still occurring. The disgusting actions by the officers who killed George Floyd cannot be explained, defended or tolerated. Nobody should be treated that way. I talked with many officers throughout the week; we’re all disturbed by what we saw in the video.
What we saw goes against the training, practices, values and culture that we have built within the Oxnard Police Department. We have worked hard to build trust and respect within our community. We do our best to hire local applicants and we hold them to high standards. We know that when our police department mirrors the community we serve, these types of incidents are less likely to occur.
I also know that my words mean nothing to those who do not trust the police.
This incident, and the protests that followed, didn’t happen in a vacuum. They’re partly the result of a 400-year legacy that our country hasn’t yet fully come to terms with. Many of us exit high school, and even college, with only a superficial understanding of our nation’s history, and with limited cultural competency.
I mention the historical perspective because true change can take years. Deep-seated cultural changes can take generations. It takes well-intentioned individuals on all sides who are willing to roll up their sleeves, to work together and to stick with it. The spotlight helps. Rioting, looting and destroying property do not help.
The Oxnard Police Department offers our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family of George Floyd. #GeorgeFloydOxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney
George Floyd is a black man who died after being restrained by police in Minneapolis during his arrest on Monday, May 25.