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The sheriff of a rural Nevada county has backtracked after initially telling the directors of a county library not to call 911 to report looting or violence at the facility if they came out publicly in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“To support this movement is to support violence and to openly ask for it to happen in Douglas County,” Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley said in an open letter he sent to the Douglas County Public Library Board of Trustees earlier this week.
“Due to your support of Black Lives Matter and the obvious lack of support or trust with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, please do not feel the need to call 911 for help,” he wrote in a letter posted Monday.
“I wish you good luck with disturbances and lewd behavior since those are just some of the recent calls my office has assisted you with in the past,” Coverley added.
Also, Coverley noted that “the Black Lives Matter movement openly calls all law enforcement corrupt and racist on their website. They call for the defunding of police, and we have seen how a lack of active law-enforcement has worked in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.”
The sheriff noted further that “numerous Black Lives Matter protests have resulted in violence, property damage and the closing of local businesses, sometimes permanently.”
He also provided statistics regarding officer-involved shootings and said that the current anti-police mood among BLM supporters around the country resembles the “national rebellion on law enforcement” seen during the 2016 election cycle.
“The tragic and preventable death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis Police officers shined a national spotlight on bad actors within the law enforcement profession. At the same time, data simply does not support claims that law enforcement is systemically racist or structurally biased,” he wrote.
“Despite the lack of available evidence to support the anti-police narrative, it proliferates and has spawned radical reactions such as the current calls to ‘defund the police,’ as well as increases in violence against police—ranging from assaults to assassinations,” he added.
On Tuesday, Coverley backed off after meeting with library director Amy Dodson, noting that his office would indeed respond if called.
The sheriff fired off his open letter in response to an agenda posted by the library’s board of trustees ahead of a Tuesday meeting in which they said they would be considering the adoption of a statement on diversity “for possible approval,” among other things.
“The Douglas County Public Library denounces all acts of violence, racism and disregard for human rights. We support #BlackLivesMatter. We resolutely assert and believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality and injustice don’t belong in our society,” said the statement, in part.
The statement notes further that the library “joins the American Library Association and the Urban Libraries Council in condemning violence and racism towards Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” while remaining “steadfastly dedicated to equality, freedom to read, and freedom of expression.”
The trustees canceled the meeting so that Coverley and Dodson could meet to discuss the statement. The meeting has been rescheduled, Fox News reported.
“Sheriff Coverley and I had a very candid conversation about the statement and we both expressed our opinions regarding the intent of our exchanged correspondence,” Dodson said Tuesday.
“We agreed that we both support the people of Douglas County and this may have been an unfortunate circumstance of misunderstanding. The library respects and supports the work of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and appreciates everything they do to keep our community safe.”
Coverley noted, “I am passionate about and proud of the work the Sheriff’s Office does for all members of this community.
“This has been a difficult time to be a law enforcement professional and can be disheartening when we perceive that our office may be under attack,” he continued. “My response was rooted in my belief that these issues need to be openly discussed in a way that values diversity and law enforcement.”
In a separate statement Tuesday, Coverley declared that his department would “fairly and impartially apply laws and ordinances without regard to race, color, creed, sex, or station in life.”
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