Stephens Co. sheriff releases statement


Reaction to George Floyd death

  • Sheriff Wayne McKinney Stephens County

I have been in the law enforcement profession for more than 30 years, and I have worked closely with hundreds of peace officers over the years – some of the finest men and women, by any measurement, with pure intentions and a tireless work ethic to grow trust between the community and its police.

Earlier this week I watched in disgust with the rest of the nation, as a careless Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd and snuffed out his life, while several other officers looked on.

I usually do not comment on reports of police abuse around the country, as there is often much more to the stories than is reported in the media. I prefer to have all the facts before forming an opinion or jumping to a conclusion.

In this case, however, the rest of the story cannot possibly justify the behavior revealed in the video and the senseless loss of life that resulted.

Each of these officers clearly and unforgivably failed in his essential duty to protect George Floyd. They have damaged the progress of tens of thousands of noble peace officers in this country who have worked hard, and continue to work hard, to achieve trust in their communities.

Although I would never support violent and destructive protests, I stand with peace officers and law enforcement leaders in Stephens County, and throughout the nation, in contempt of the abusive behavior that led to the death of George Floyd. I support the message that this type of behavior by those sworn to protect our communities must stop.

We must acknowledge that racism is real in Stephens County, as well as in our entire country. As long as I have influence, the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office will continue to recruit employees of the finest caliber, provide the best training and equipment, and demand our employees are held to the highest professional and ethical standards.

We simply cannot be effective at our mission without the trust and confidence of the citizens we serve.

—Sheriff Wayne McKinney Stephens County