The City of Platteville and UW–Platteville issued statements this afternoon following the ongoing protests following last week's death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"Like many of you, we have seen the horrific video which led to the death of George Floyd," said the city statement signed by City Manager Adam Ruechel and Police Chief Doug McKinley. "After watching the video, we are left with emotions of sadness, anger, and disgust."
The city statement quoted Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association: “The actions of the Minneapolis officers were outrageous, deplorable, and revolting, and would not satisfy the use of force standards and best practices employed by law enforcement in Wisconsin. The outright abuse inflicted upon George Floyd not only failed to meet the legal and professional standards that require officers to exercise force reasonably, it desecrated the most basic notions of human decency. We see no justification for the officers’ actions in this case, and they represent an affront to the core values and principles upon which the law enforcement profession is founded.”
The city statement said that Ruechel and McKinley "agree this incident not only makes the job of every law enforcement officer more difficult, it makes that job more dangerous as well. While the officers’ actions in the death of George Floyd are not representative of the law enforcement profession, it is an experience far too many people throughout our country experience. It undoes the good work our officers do and the strides the Platteville Police Department has made to strengthen its relationship with our residents.
"While we recognize this statement alone cannot repair the hurt and pain which exists throughout our country, we believe acknowledging the incident is important to promote the changes which must occur in the months and years ahead. We as residents of Platteville can control how we want to conduct business and how we want to treat each other. One of Platteville’s 2020 Strategic Goals calls to begin inclusivity conversations with the goal of developing an inclusivity plan. The City of Platteville is committed to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion for all residents and visitors."
The city statement adds: "Whether you are a resident or visitor to the City of Platteville, we want you to feel safe in our community, regardless of the time of day or location. If as a resident or visitor to our City you have not felt safe, we want to know why?"
The statement includes the emails and phone numbers of McKlnley — 348-2313, email@example.com, and Ruechel, 348-1821, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UW–Platteville statement is addressed to the "Campus Community" from UWP chancellor Dennis Shields and other campus leadership:
"The recent tragedies are profound examples of what is truly broken, and has been broken for generations, in our society. The events of which we write are the most recent examples of what has been obvious for decades. The horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, and Dion Johnson are, or should be, dismaying to anyone who believes we live in a civil society. Police being weaponized against our Black communities and the protests for change in our society have again highlighted the extreme pain and injustice that persist and so significantly impact the world we live in today.
The University of Wisconsin–Platteville is an institution that values diversity, equity and inclusion. Hate is NOT a UW–Platteville value. We acknowledge that systemic racism is real, harmful, and must be addressed with urgency by all aspects of our society. We need to be active in dismantling inequity in our own community. We understand we have significant progress to obtain as a community before all our campus community members feel equitable respect and access to our educational mission.
"We share our thoughts today knowing that a statement to underscore the contempt we have for injustice, oppression, bigotry, and hate is not adequate. There must be action by each of us. We must act to reaffirm our belief and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. These tenets mean little if we do not make them a part of our daily lives.
"So, in addition to denouncing hate and affirming our institutional values of inclusion, we want to provide opportunities to assist our campus community in being active in allyship, support, care, and education towards the betterment of our community. We firmly believe we are catalysts in creating future leaders of our society through executing our educational mission. To that end, we commit to ensuring our future leaders recognize, value, and reach out to make positive change where it is needed. We also recognize that needs to start with each one of us."
The UWP statement, which can be read in its entirety at https://www.uwplatt.edu/news/message-campus-community, ends by saying that "Hate is not a UW–Platteville value. Let’s collectively be engaged in showing this is true. We have intentionally come together in crafting and signing this message across the leadership of our campus to showcase our firm belief of how critical this work is and how it is up to all of us to be active in making positive change."