Lake County sheriff says George Floyd's killing 'should shock moral consciousness'

  • Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg

    Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg

 
Posted5/29/2020 5:30 AM

As protests and violence continued to rock Minneapolis over the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer, Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg -- the first black sheriff in the suburbs and one of only six in Illinois history -- felt compelled to speak out Thursday.

In a lengthy message posted on his office's website, Facebook page and elsewhere, Idleburg says the death of George Floyd "should shock the moral consciousness of every member of our society."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"This is the year 2020 and law enforcement across our nation should understand we are guardians of our community, we are protectors of our community, we serve our community, and we are nothing without the trust and support of our community," he wrote. "What tragically happened to Mr. Floyd at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect creates a significant hole in the moral fabric of the relationship law enforcement has built with our communities."

Demonstrators chant at police officers outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct on Wednesday. Protests, some violent, have erupted over the killing of an unarmed black man by a police officer earlier in the week.
Demonstrators chant at police officers outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct on Wednesday. Protests, some violent, have erupted over the killing of an unarmed black man by a police officer earlier in the week. - Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP
Speaking out

Idleburg wasn't the only suburban law enforcement leader to publicly address the killing of Floyd, who died Monday after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes on a city street. Video of the killing prompted widespread outrage, the firing of four police officers involved and sometimes violent protests in the Twin Cities and elsewhere.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman
  Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2019

"We can be loyal to our profession and loyal to the badge but it must not be blind loyalty," Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman wrote Wednesday. "Above all, we must be loyal to justice and fundamental fairness and we must have the intellect to question and denounce that what does not align with the values of democracy and the preservation of human life.

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"Police officers, do not look for a defense to justify actions that are unjustifiable," she concluded.

Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steven R. Casstevens, who also serves as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
  Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steven R. Casstevens, who also serves as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. - Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steve Casstevens, in his role as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said it is the responsibility of law enforcement leaders to hold officers accountable for improper use of force. But he also urged people not to jump to conclusions.

"While incidents involving the use of force can be disturbing and may raise concern over police operations, we must allow investigating agencies to work to understand what occurred and why, so the appropriate administrative/judicial processes can occur," he wrote. "While videos of incidents may seem convincingly clear, all circumstances must be weighed."

A pivotal case?

As one of the few minority law enforcement leaders in the suburbs, Idleburg's perspective is compelling -- and highly critical of what occurred in Minneapolis. The first-term sheriff said such events create tension and anxiety in every community, but especially communities of color, that other law enforcement agencies must work to overcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It is important that everyone in Lake County knows the Lake County Sheriff's Office is here to work with them -- not against them," he wrote. "Our staff understands the philosophy that justice is served in a courtroom, not on the street."

He also urged those protesting Floyd's killing to do so peacefully.

"Rioting, causing damage, personal injury, and destruction is no way to deliver a message," he wrote. "Governments across America should always be willing to listen to the people, but it is so important messages are delivered in a peaceful, nonviolent manner, or the message is likely to go unheard.

"Mr. Floyd's death will not be in vain and will serve a pivotal piece in emphasizing the importance of police accountability."

Domestic violence support

With reports of domestic violence on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are in desperate need of support from their loved ones and communities.

With that in mind, Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison will host a live virtual discussion at noon Friday on supporting survivors.

Among those taking part are Rebecca Darr, president and CEO of WINGS Program Inc.; Jennifer Greene, policy director at Life Span; and Carrie Estrada, assistant director of clinical and prevention services at the Children's Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook.

They'll be discussing the impact COVID-19 has had on survivors of domestic violence and child abuse, how service providers have adjusted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and where residents can find services and resources during the stay-at-home order.

"When we talk about the stay-at-home order, we also need to talk about how we support people who have a home that's not a safe place," Morrison said.

The discussion is free and open to the public. It will be streamed live on Facebook at https://streamyard.com/94n2ygbnyr.

Submit questions beforehand at https://bit.ly/2ynnt9P or District15@cookcountyil.gov.

Bruce Mirabella
Bruce Mirabella
Quick 'no'

The lawyer for Bruce Mirabella, a Bartlett man convicted of assaulting a Jewel-Osco employee, asked DuPage County Judge Brian Telander on Wednesday to release his client from the county jail while he awaits sentencing. Mirabella has been in the pokey since March 8, when Telander found him guilty.

"He is not a threat to anyone," attorney Tom Breen said.

"Not a threat to anyone but Jewel baggers," Telander swiftly replied.

Telander said he would decide on the request June 10, the same day he hears Breen's motion for a new trial. If he denies the new trial, Telander intends to sentence Mirabella that day.

• Have a question, tip or comment? Email us at copsand crime@dailyherald.com.

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