Protests continue across the country, local law enforcement weighs in

Published: May. 30, 2020 at 12:42 AM EDT
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Police and protestors are facing off from the East to West coasts over the death of an unarmed African-American man at the hands of a white police officer.

While a nation fiercely demands justice and accountability, the ripple effects are being felt inside law enforcement agencies, including here in Vermont.

"It's horrifying and it's a perversion of everything that American police aren't meant to do," Interim Burlington Police Chief Jennifer Morrison said. "It is the antithesis of protecting and serving and it goes against every piece of training I've had or overseen in my 30 years on the job."

"Personally it's horrifying to see something like that, just as a human to see another person being treated that way," Vermont State Police Captain Garry Scott said. "We sign up to be in law enforcement to help our communities with a true sense of service and being a Vermont State Trooper that's something that I have been able to do for almost twenty years and to see something like that multiple times in my career, it's upsetting. It's not what we want to do, it's not what we want to be a part of, and as an agency, it's tough to see that stuff. You know that people can possibly be afraid of you because of the job you doing when your intention is to be helpful."

Scott also said that deadly force should only be used as a last resort.

"But someone who is in handcuffs and is not resisting as that video showed, it doesn't seem like it was warranted," Scott said. "It would be completely unacceptable for other members of our agency to stand by and watch that occur."

He says this video also illustrates a critical need to address the Minneapolis Police Department's training and culture, as well as its relationship with the community it serves.

"It's on us as an agency and as a profession to continue to work with our communities, listen to experiences of people and integrate those experiences into our training programs and do a better job," Scott said.

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