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Oakwood Hills police chief: 'Whether I am in my uniform or not, I, too, feel fear'

Oakwood Hills Police Chief Valiza Nash posted a statement on Facebook Monday in regard to the death of George Floyd. "I do not call people who murder, abuse citizens and commit other crimes police officers. They are criminals and should be treated as criminals," Nash said.
Oakwood Hills Police Chief Valiza Nash posted a statement on Facebook Monday in regard to the death of George Floyd. "I do not call people who murder, abuse citizens and commit other crimes police officers. They are criminals and should be treated as criminals," Nash said.

Oakwood Hills Police Chief Valiza Nash posted the following statement on Facebook Monday in regard to the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes.

"The words expressed are my personal opinion and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the Village of Oakwood Hills.

A Message from Chief Valiza Nash-

I would be remiss if I did not comment on the murder of George Floyd.

My deepest condolences go out to the Floyd family and all of the other families that have lost family members at the hands of criminals within our profession, who took an oath to protect and serve the people.

I do not call people who murder, abuse citizens and commit other crimes police officers. They are criminals and should be treated as criminals. I feel that all of the officers who participated in Mr. Floyd’s murder should be arrested and charged.

Racism is real. There is an inherent need for dialogue about racism and biases. Conversations need to be had between the police and their communities, among officers and agencies and within our communities.

Wearing a uniform does not eradicate those beliefs or behaviors. I live it daily. Whether I am in my uniform or not, I, too, feel fear. For 54 years, I have been judged first by the color of my skin and not by the character of my person. Serving in a predominately white community, I am fortunate to only have been called the “N” word once to my face. But even this one time was one time too many and it needs to stop. We need to talk about it and deal with it.

Our criminal justice system is broken and has been broken for many years. Police departments have to stop the practice of negligent hiring and start holding their officers and staff accountable for policy violations and criminal acts. There are only a small fraction of criminals within our profession; however, if we continue to condone their behavior and not hold them accountable for their criminal acts, we are the problem, not the solution.

Unions are supposed to encourage and assist administrators to ensure their members are operating at a higher standard so as to not stain the badge or public trust. Prosecutors should not shy away from charging criminals, which include people who wear the uniform. Judges need to demand more from prosecutors and not rubberstamp plea deals that promote incarceration of innocent people-- mostly people of color.

The practice of allowing criminals to continue to wear the badge after they have committed crimes also has to stop. Stop sweeping the behavior under the rug because you do not want to stain the reputation of the department or community. The stain comes when you fail to act and the dirt is uncovered.

I challenge my peers across the nation for institutional change within their police departments. Identify the criminals, and when you find those who do not want to abide by rules, get rid of them. Restore the pride our communities once had in their police officers-- the time when they called us “Officer Friendly”, not murderer. We are public servants. We serve the people."

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