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Local leaders respond to George Floyd death

Community leaders are already working together to ensure that demonstrations here will never get to that point. Law enforcement and the local NAACP have already been in contact. News 18's Marvin Bills spoke with them about the message they are sending out to the community during this time.

Posted: May 29, 2020 5:43 PM
Updated: May 30, 2020 9:15 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—As protests erupt around the country over the death of George Floyd, local leaders in Tippecanoe County are making strides to send a message that'll bring us together.

"When the events took place earlier this week happened, I was sickened," said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis. 

It's an incident that many around the world cannot put into words. Earlier this week a video went viral of a Minneapolis police officer detaining a man with his knee on the man's neck. Shortly after - that man dies. His name was George Floyd.

"For a police officer to behave the way that officer did," said Dennis. "It's not just offensive it's absolutely demoralizing."

Dennis said he doesn't understand the actions of the Minneapolis police officer.

"What would provoke a police officer to kill a man because of a arguable minor crime being committed," said Dennis. "It's beyond my ability to understand."

Now leaders are taking this opportunity to send a powerful message to minorities in Greater Lafayette.

Local NAACP President Sadie Harper Scott said we need to fight for what is right as a community.

"We should come together, we should have these conversations," said Scott. "We can't stay silent. We have to do it peacefully. We have to be vocal."

Scott said actions speak louder than words. But there's power in communication.

"We have to get up, we have to share our stories. Because sometimes a shut mouth never gets fed," said Scott.

Scott is working with local law enforcement to create a town hall style meeting where the community can discuss these controversial issues, something West Lafayette Chief of Police Troy Harris and Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly agree should happen.

"My message to our minority groups is please hold us accountable. We hold one another accountable here and we expect our community to hold us accountable," said Harris. 

"We want to be there we want to be there to ensure everybody has the right to be heard and to do it in a way where we can do it safely and peacefully," said Flannelly. 

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski released a statement regarding the death of George Floyd on Saturday.

“The recent death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department is a terrible tragedy. The inexcusable act that caused the death of Mr. Floyd is wrong and heartbreaking; there is simply no other way to put it. It is a devastating reminder of the work that still needs to be done when it comes to the issues of race and law enforcement training, and the need for a national dialogue on institutional racism. As a former law enforcement officer, I cannot understand what could have possibly led to this tragic outcome for Mr. Floyd. I implore people of this community and nationwide to use this devastating situation to start a meaningful dialogue that will create tangible change and the opportunity for everyone to live a life of inclusion, free of racism and discrimination. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to all of those who have been affected by this incident and others.”

There isn't a set date for the proposed meeting. But of course News 18 will bring any developments as information comes.

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