Fairfield police chief calls George Floyd’s death ‘serious injustice’
FAIRFIELD — Local police and clergy issued a joint statement Saturday condemning the actions that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as protests continued globally.
The protests were sparked by Floyd’s death on Monday after a Minneapolis police office knelt on his neck for for more than eight minutes while he was handcuffed, face down and saying he could not breathe.
There have been rallies in Denver, New York City, New Mexico, California, Ohio, Florida, Houston, Phoenix, Mississippi and Kentucky. Protests popped up in Maine and Connecticut on Friday, reaching as far as Berlin by Saturday.
Saturday marked day two of protests in Connecticut, with groups gathering statewide including in Bridgeport, Stratford and Hartford.
In the statement from Fairfield leaders, Police Chief Christopher Lyddy, First Church Congregational Fairfield Revs. Vanessa Payne Rose and David W. Spollett and First Baptist Church of Stratford Pastor Rev. Dr. William B. Sutton III denounced the actions taken by Minneapolis police officers that led to the death of Floyd.
“Our task as police officers is to protect and preserve lives at all costs. That sacred trust that the community has placed in us has been broken in Minneapolis and the repercussions and ramifications will have a ripple effect across the country,” Lyddy said. “The department stands alongside local clergy members in the decrying of this senseless and serious injustice that has taken place.”
Rose, Spollett and Sutton said the “repeated disregard for black life ... has continued for generations,” calling it a “moral failing of our nation.”
“We cannot stand silent while such atrocities are happening in front of us, as the other officers on the Minneapolis police department did. We have to work to uproot the racism ingrained in our society, legal systems and in law enforcement,” their statement said. “We bear witness to the grief, pain, and anger felt by Mr. Floyd’s family and friends, and we join all those across the nation who are seeking to heal the deep wounds caused by generations of racism and systemic discrimination.”
The statement concluded to say the police and clergy came together to make a joint statement “because every American has a responsibility to demand and work for justice.”
Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said she stands “united with the Fairfield Police Department, local clergy and our community against any and all acts of violence and racism.”