Message from Chief Heighes to the EMU Community
June 2, 2020
It is with a heavy heart that I address you all today. Like so many in our community and the nation, after watching the video of George Floyd’s death, I am deeply saddened and disturbed. We are again seeing another senseless death of a Black man at the hands of law enforcement. Four officers, one unarmed handcuffed black man, on the ground, and the response from one officer was to kneel on Mr. Floyd’s neck to the point that he suffocates. The response of the other officers on the scene was to stand by and allow it to happen, even stopping those citizens that tried to speak up. These officers’ actions are indefensible.
Unfortunately, we know that this is not the only incident of police brutality targeting Black men and women We know that much of the nation’s trust in law enforcement is understandably shaken or even gone. Please know that we too are angry. We too are frustrated. We too are hurting and we too will not defend these officers’ actions. We stand with the community against racism and police brutality, and we stand for police accountability.
We know we have a moral and legal duty in law enforcement to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, victim, witness, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect. We are not above the law and all of us are accountable for our actions.
Our department is dedicated to breaking down barriers between police and the students we serve, and we will continue to work on developing relationships with our students and campus community to learn how we can improve safety on campus. We will not tolerate anything less than a safe and inclusive campus for people of all backgrounds.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis is tragic, and all incidents of police brutality need to end. This incident renews our commitment to act professionally in all situations, and to continue participation in effective training for all of our personnel. Our main objective is and always will be keeping Eastern Michigan University students, faculty, and staff safe.
Executive Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police
Eastern Michigan University