CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Borough Mayor Thaddeus Kobylarz and Police Chief Brian Gibbons issued a joint statement on the death of George Floyd and pledged to hold a virtual town meeting on the subject in the near future.
"In the coming days, we will announce a virtual town hall with members of the police department and elected officials where residents can learn more about how we operate and maintain accountability within the department," the joint statement said.
The full statement from the mayor and police chief can be read below:
Public Statement from Mayor Thaddeus Kobylarz and Police Chief Brian Gibbons Regarding the Death of George Floyd and Public Protests
Like most Americans, members of the Chatham Borough Police Department were horrified to witness the excessive degree of force exhibited by a small group of Minneapolis police officers resulting in the untimely death of George Floyd. The actions by the Minneapolis police officers initially on scene shocked the conscience and are by no means representative of the work routinely performed by professional and empathetic police officers in Chatham Borough or around the country. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all who desire peaceful protest and meaningful change so that we can eliminate the scourge of bias and excessive force in policing. Moreover, we call for an emphasis on de-escalation measures in addressing the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s death, a practice we ourselves in Chatham Borough strive to exemplify as sworn peacekeepers.
We want to assure you that the Chatham Borough Police Department strongly condemns bias in policing and excessive force by any police officer. For many years we have hired, promoted, trained, and managed our department to ensure a culture of respect and procedural justice for all human beings consistent with our core values detailed below.
We are proud of our well-trained and compassionate police officers and the solid relationships they maintain with members of this community. Moreover, we are all deeply saddened by the actions and nonfeasance exhibited by the officers in Minneapolis and the resulting chaos this has created, undermining years of progress in police practices. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Floyd family as they grieve this unspeakable tragedy.
In the coming days, we will announce a virtual town hall with members of the police department and elected officials where residents can learn more about how we operate and maintain accountability within the department.
Every human being, without exception, deserves to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. Our police officers take seriously their role as sworn peacekeepers and are committed to the fundamental principles of justice and fairness in everything they do. They take pride in their compassion and concern for every member of our community, as well as for those merely passing through our town. For the Chatham Borough Police Department, this is, and will always be, "job one".