The Cobb County Police Department, the Marietta Police Department, and the Smyrna Police Department issued a joint statement on the nationwide protests that have erupted after the killing of George Floyd by a now-terminated Minneapolis police officer.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed down on Floyd’s neck with his knee while Floyd pleaded with the officer that he could not breathe, and bystanders appealed to Chauvin to remove his knee from the handcuffed man’s neck.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Nationwide protests, many of them violent, have been raging since the incident, including continuing protests in Atlanta.
The following is the statement from the Cobb, Marietta, and Smyrna police departments.
We have taken note of the criminal activity that has been taking place in so many cities across our country over the past few days. For the record, all three of our departments remain strongly opposed to any form of injustice, racism, or brutality. We are deeply concerned and have taken steps to not only protect everyone’s first amendment right to free speech and peaceful protest, but also to protect the life and liberty of our local citizens as well. Our three departments are working in conjunction to make sure the safety of everyone is maintained.
We have been in contact with a few individuals representing groups that are planning peaceful protests within our jurisdictions. Some of the organizers have expressed concern that outside agitators may try to hijack their plans for a peaceful event. Therefore we recommend anyone else planning protests to communicate and partner with their local law enforcement agencies to maintain the safety of all involved.
All three of our agencies have received numerous inquiries from the media and public about tactical preparations concerning possible cases of violence. While we understand your concern, tactical plans are privy to the law enforcement teams protecting the safety of our community. We have plans in place and we want to remind any who plan to use the peaceful protests as a means to break the law, we will be ready to protect peaceful protestors, residents, and business owners and to arrest and charge any and all who break the law within our respective jurisdictions.
We remind everyone that if you see criminal activity occurring please contact 911 immediately so officers can be dispatched. Rest assured, all three departments are and remain passionate about protecting our residents and business owners. Any criminal acts will result in arrest and prosecution according to the law.