Johns Creek Police Chief Chris Byers said the department supports peaceful protests for justice in the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Johns Creek

Amid protests, North Fulton officials seek to reassure residents

As protests erupted across the country over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, North Fulton officials sought to reassure residents.

In a Facebook post, Johns Creek Police Chief Chris Byers said Monday the entire department was “stunned and angered by the force used against (Floyd)” and supports peaceful protests for justice.

Floyd died in Minneapolis on Memorial Day while detained by four police officers, who were soon fired. One of the officers, Derek Chauvin, was captured on video with his knee pinned to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. He was charged with murder and manslaughter last week.

“I can assure you that the video of Mr. Floyd and his treatment is not representative of law enforcement and especially not the Johns Creek Police Department and those in our neighboring area,” he added.

In his Sunday blog post, Chief’s Chat, Alpharetta Police Chief John Robison said that he has received several inquires asking about the department’s de-escalation training. Officers are trained beyond state requirements annually with scenarios that would introduce de-escalation of given situations, he wrote.

“Ultimately, we have extremely high expectations regarding how our officers handle any interaction with citizens, and our training reflects those expectations,” Robison wrote. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was unable to reach the chief for comment.

One of two Atlanta Police Department officers fired Sunday for excessive force when arresting two college students had recently completed de-escalation training, according to the state Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.

During the last four years, neighbors and strangers formed groups, as well as church members across the metro area for frank conversations on race. Now the mayors of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek want to continue that trend.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul suggests local faith-based organizations and community groups host gatherings of 10 or less people for conversations on race.

“I am asking that they forward conversation notes, suggestions, and ideas to me at City Hall for review and presentation to the city council,” Paul said.

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said the Johns Creek Police Department wants to establish better community relations.

“The entire community is hurting,” Bodker said, in a statement released on Monday. “Any form of hate, brutality, or racism is detrimental to our community and will not be condoned or ignored here in Johns Creek.”

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