To our Bothell Community,
This past week we witnessed the needless death of Mr. George Floyd, after being taken into custody by Minneapolis police officers. I watched the video of Mr. Floyd lying cuffed on the ground, with an officer’s knee on his neck, desperately telling the officers that he couldn’t breathe, while other officers did nothing. I was horrified and appalled by the callous indifference displayed by officers at the scene to a man’s cry for breath. That is not how anyone should behave, let alone a police officer who swore an oath to protect and serve.
The death of Mr. Floyd has rocked the nation and law enforcement to its core. When a needless death like this occurs, it undermines all the great work that has been done. People are hurting and angry. And I don’t blame them. The officers at this scene destroyed any trust they had with the public they serve. Now those officers must be held accountable.
Every officer I have spoken to about this event has been outraged. Outraged that no officer stepped in to help Mr. Floyd. Outraged that an officer would do such a thing to another human being. Outraged at how officers from Minneapolis have negatively impacted the positive relationships we have developed within our own community. Outraged that we must grieve another needless death.
The fact is, Law Enforcement must do better. We as Law Enforcement must own our mistakes and work hard every day to ensure we are earning the authority we have been given. To be frank, it starts with hiring the right people. The Bothell Police Department excels at this through a rigorous background process, which seeks out empathetic, caring people who have a desire to make a difference. Once hired, our officers complete hours of ongoing training in de-escalation, mental health, implicit bias, crisis intervention, in addition to basic patrol and tactical procedures.
I am proud of the men and women of the Bothell Police Department. They are hard-working, empathetic peace officers who care about the community they serve. They take pride in protecting and serving all people of Bothell. But we also recognize that our effectiveness is only as strong as our relationships and partnerships with our community. This is why our mission statement reads, “It is the mission of the Bothell Police Department to protect life and property through professional police services and a proactive partnership with the community.”
We are committed to our mission. We understand that it will not be easy. It means that we must be willing to have difficult and sometimes, uncomfortable conversations. It means doing our best to understand another’s point of view. As our nation works through these difficult and challenging times, you have our commitment that we will continue to build relationships and partnerships within our community, to ensure those who are marginalized have a voice.
Please know that we are monitoring the situation in cities around us and are working closely with our Bothell community partners and some are coordinating with us as they plan small, peaceful protests. We will be out and about in the community a lot over the next few days, standing side by side with many of you.
Ken Seuberlich, Chief of Police