READING — Chief David Clark, joined by the command staff, supervisors and patrol officers of the Reading Police Department condemn the actions of the Minneapolis police officers that led to the death of George Floyd earlier this week:
“The actions and inaction of police officers, leading to the death of a man in their custody, shows failure at multiple levels, but most importantly, a failure in the most vital and solemn vocation of a police officer: to safeguard human life and instill a sense of safety in their community,” Chief Clark said. “These actions stand in stark contrast to the standard that the vast majority of law enforcement agencies, including the Reading Police Department, work to uphold every day.”
Police officers take a solemn oath to defend human life. It is therefore incumbent upon every police department to ensure its members are trained in the safest and most modern and appropriate tactics. The members of the Reading Police Department take part continuously in advanced training on de-escalation techniques, diversity and inclusion, and fair and impartial policing.
“We must always retain legitimacy in the eyes of our citizens,” added Town Manager Bob LeLacheur. “This means that when a person is suspected of committing a crime and is in police custody, we must act in a manner consistent with the application of justice and remember the presumption of innocence.”
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, representing Police Chiefs in all 351 cities and towns and most college campuses has this week also denounced the egregious actions taken by four members of the Minneapolis Police Department, whether by action or inaction, that resulted in the death of George Floyd on May 25. Massachusetts Police Officers have thoroughly embraced the six pillars of the principles embodied in the final report of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and remain committed to professional conduct, democratic policing and procedural justice for all people.
“I am very proud to be a police officer, and I am exceptionally proud to serve as chief of police in Reading,” Chief Clark said. “Reading is a vibrant, welcoming community, and its officers are well-trained professionals who are dedicated to their job. These women and men leave their families every day seeking not only to protect others but to interact with and serve the public in a positive way. I consider it a privilege to be chief of such a great group of officers.”
The leadership team of the Town of Reading and the Reading Police Department will not sway in their dedication to professionalism, fairness and legitimacy.
“We are accountable to our community, and we are grateful for the support and encouragement given to our officers every day by the citizens of Reading,” Chief Clark said.