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Commissioners discuss George Floyd/protests

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At this morning’s weekly Business Meeting, the Board of County Commissioners discussed the George Floyd killing, and the national and local events that have transpired since then. Their comments can be watched in the clip below, and a transcript of Chair Jim Bernard’s statement is under the video:

Chair Jim Bernard made the following statement at this morning’s Business Meeting:

“I am shocked and heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd and the numerous other Black men and women that have been murdered just because of the color of their skin. While I support the right to protest, I’m appalled by the destruction of private property that has played out nationally. I’m fearful that COVID-19 will lead to the death of many more because of these protests. 

“I believe that our country must change because all Americans do not receive equal treatment. African-Americans and other minorities should never have to live in fear simply because of the color of their skin. Being Black should not be a death sentence by the police or any other racist. 

“Clackamas County has had its own issues with racial injustice – in the past and recently. Demonstrations are starting to take place here in the county so that our residents’ voices can be heard. I wholeheartedly support the freedom of speech and assembly. 

"With that, I’d like to encourage you to read two things:

“First, an open, powerful letter to [the] Portland general community from the Coalition of Communities of Color. That’s on that group’s website

“Second, I’d like to thank the Sheriff, Craig Roberts, for his condemnation of the actions that led to the death of George Floyd, and the joint statement from him and other Metro Area law enforcement officers. You can read this on the Sheriff’s Facebook page. We at the County need to work in partnership with law enforcement to eliminate racial injustice. That work starts within us all – each individual has to do the difficult work of examining their own biases, surfacing them and then deconstructing them.   

“I look forward to working with the Coalition [of Communities] of Color in the days ahead on a recently-approved study of Clackamas County to help us better understand the lived experience of our residents of different races, origin and ethnicity.  

“I would like to ask County Counsel to review Clackamas County laws and ordinances for express or implied bias, so that the Commission can make the necessary changes, and ask the cities of Clackamas County to commit to do the same. Finally, that Clackamas County set as one of priorities: To facilitate changes in Oregon State Statute, to eliminate any and all biases.”