Statement from Mayor Daniel P. DiMaria
The Village of Morton Grove joins the entire nation in expressing our sorrow over the unjust death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. On behalf of myself, my family, and our entire Village Board, Police Department and all members of our Village staff, I send our sincere condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family during this difficult time.
I am honored to be the mayor of our incredibly close amazingly open Village where we not only embrace our diversity, we consider it a valuable asset. We care about each other regardless of race, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. As Martin Luther King dreamed, we believe that people should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Our country has made good progress towards racial equality, but after seeing the events of the past two weeks, we have not gone far enough. That Mr. Floyd was killed by an on-duty police officer is particularly disturbing. Abuse of power and the unnecessary use of force cannot be tolerated. We also cannot pretend that racism does not exist, and that people are not hurt by it. We support everyone who are peacefully protesting for justice for Mr. Floyd as Martin Luther King would have wanted. However, we also do not condone the looting and damage to property that has also taken place over the past two weeks. These crimes have unjustly caused enormous financial losses, stress and grief for innocent people who were already suffering the effects of COVID-19.
Some of our residents have contacted me to inquire about our police department’s use of force policies. I am proud to tell you that under the leadership of Chief Simo, the policies of the police department prohibit chokeholds unless deadly force is necessary, and even then, the officer should first issue a verbal warning, if possible. Officers are required to intervene and stop unwarranted excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor. The Department maintains records anytime force is used, and the use of force is subject to a review system starting with the officer’s supervisor, up through his Deputy Chief and then the Chief.
The relationship between the Morton Grove Police Department and the public is based on a sacred trust built by honesty, transparency, and respect. Community policing and diversity are primary facets of our Police Department training. Our officers are trained to only use deadly force as a last resort and receive inhouse and classroom training on how to de-escalate situations so that in many cases force will not be necessary. Focus is and always will remain on safety and respectful customer service for every resident and visitor in our community regardless of the color of a person’s skin, religion, or ethnic origin. I am proud to stand with and beside the Morton Grove Police Department. Our homes, businesses, parks and streets, are safer because of them. I am, and always will be, grateful for their service.
The past three months have been overwhelmingly difficult beyond comprehension. We will move forward together as a community, because that’s who we are. Every member of our Village staff, including, especially including every member of our police department is dedicated to serving our community. My door is always open, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss these important issues with anyone – even those who may not fully agree with me. God Bless America – God Bless Morton Grove – God Bless George Floyd.