Traverse City officials condemn killing of George Floyd, ask for local protests to remain peaceful

Jun 2, 2020

Police Chief Jeff O'Brien speaks to reporters with Mayor Carruthers in the background.
Credit Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

At a press conference Tuesday, Traverse City officials including Mayor Jim Carruthers and Police Chief Jeff O'Brien condemned the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis Police Officers.

"I speak for everybody in law enforcement: we do not condone the actions of law enforcement officers in Minneapolis," O'Brien said while holding back tears.

Floyd's death, along with many other instances of police violence against black people, has sparked protests across the country and in Michigan. O'Brien added that he understands why people are protesting, but he denounced the actions of violent protestors. He asked local protestors to demonstrate peacefully, and urged them to contact the police department if they had any questions or concerns.

Mayor Carruthers also echoed calls for protests in Traverse City to remain peaceful.

"We welcome people here, we just want people to be safe and to share their opinions and not do damage to our city," Carruthers said.

Several other city officials, including the Mayor Pro Tem and City Manager, repeated Carruthers' sentiment. 

O'Brien, who mentioned he was a young officer when Rodney King was beaten by members of the Los Angeles Police Department, says he thinks Floyd's death will forever change policing.

One protest in Traverse City last weekend was relatively quiet, according to multiple attendees.