CLARK, NJ - Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos released a statement today about what he called the murder of George Floyd. In his letter, Matos shares his and fellow law enforcement officers' reactions to the incident and what it brings to the forefront for him and his team in the work they do and how they do it in the community. The statement in full is here:
As a 25 year member of law enforcement and as the Chief of this department, I feel it is my duty to speak out against the horrific video of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Officer. Every law enforcement officer, and for that matter, every single person that I have spoken to about the video have all had the same horrified reaction to it. The actions of those officers are in no way justifiable, nor are they in keeping with the ideals of our nation. To put it simply, Mr. Floyd was murdered. We condemn the actions of those officers. As police officers, we are horrified at the lack of empathy shown to Mr. Floyd. These officers actions are completely contrary to what we are trained to do and the oath that we take. This incident and others like it highlight the need for law enforcement to continue our efforts to reach out to all citizens of all races so that we can better understand each other.
The Clark Police Department has been and always will be committed to accountability of our officers, transparency and professionalism. The events of Minneapolis understandably have resulted in demonstrations throughout our nation. We support every citizen’s right to gather peacefully and voice their grievances and demand change. We understand that these demands will take organizational change on the part of law enforcement. The Clark Police Department will always be committed to change so that we can be better representatives of our society. In the last 5 years, the Clark Police Department has undertaken several changes so that we can constantly review every critical interaction we have with every citizen. Every police use of force, citizen complaint, pursuit and search is reviewed by two layers of supervisory staff. We deployed body worn cameras in January of 2016 so that every officer interaction is transparent. We have instituted and welcomed New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal's mandate for an early warning system to track officer’s performance and Identify deficiencies. We have revamped our recruitment and hiring practices.
As the Chief of this department my staff and I will always be committed to identifying our deficiencies. We will work harder to build trust with every citizen we come into contact with. We will continue to serve and protect every citizen with the upmost dignity and respect. On behalf of the entire Clark Police Department we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends.
Chief Pedro Matos