Byers said Johns Creek officers have been tearful and angry during meetings to discuss protests around the country, and Floyd’s death in May. He quoted officers as saying of church leaders, “‘Chief, don’t they know that the movements they are promoting at its core celebrates the killing of police officers simply because they wear the badge.’”
The Sunday night post came at the end of a weekend of more national headlines focused on police aggression. Two Buffalo, New York officers appeared in court, Saturday, for pushing a 75-year-old man to the ground during a protest. And Minnesota City Council announced they plan to defund, dismantle and rebuild the city’s police department.
Byers said that he supports protests and change is necessary, but he would not take a knee with protesters as some police chiefs have around the U.S.
“Taking a knee is a sign of surrender,” he said. “I will not surrender to this fight for justice.”
The chief described himself as a partner in the fight against racism.
“I am your biggest ally in the fight to stamp out any racism or corruption in our country’s police agencies,” he said. “I am on the front line in this battle. It’s my job to not only keep the bad apples from wearing the badge, but also to make sure the soil in my organization and profession remains pure.”
Byers joined the Johns Creek Police Department in 2008 and became the new police chief in March.