Yesterday was a proud day for Sammamish, in which we celebrated our differences and made a call for real change in to our society.
Between 400 and 500 protestors gathered for a peaceful and inspiring protest responding to the death of George Floyd. Several local High School students organized the protest. They did an amazing job and were eloquent and passionate in their call for social change and social justice across our country. Many people from the crowd stepped up and told their story about injustice, hatred and racism and the impact it has had on them, their families and friends. This was not just about racism and hate across the country, but about those same issues in our City. A very strong message about stepping up and having a voice to end racism at every level! The protest began at City Hall for about an hour-and-a-half, then proceeded to march along 228th to NE 8th and back again.
About 70 protestors remained at City Hall, where they held a silent vigil for George Floyd. Many of them engaged in discussion with several Sammamish Police Officers as well as myself. I was asked to share information about our Implicit Bias Training, De-escalation Training, Crisis Intervention training and our Use of Force continuum. Once again, an amazing group of people with a strong message for change.
I would also like to thank all of the City staff and the Sammamish Police Officers for their work behind the scenes to maintain a safe environment, which allowed community members to have a peaceful protest and exercise their right to free speech.
Prior to this event, I was notified about a post regarding an encounter with me, two officers and two young adults from Sammamish. I was not actually involved in any conversation or contact, and the description of the conversation runs counter to the values and actions of Sammamish Officers. I contacted the two sisters and their parents to discuss the post. The sisters admitted I was not at the scene. They did feel strongly and disagreed with what the officers had said. The two officers recounted a different discourse than that which was posted. Both parties have stated that they would like to continue the conversation. I am committed to making this happen as soon as possible to pursue open dialogue. This is the only way we can achieve understanding and continue to build positive relationships between your police department and the community.
As your Chief of Police, I am committed to working with you in partnership to address systemic racism, abuse, and harassment. Hearing from the amazing group of young men and women at the protest gives me great hope for our future. The men and women of the Sammamish Police Department will continue to be professional and treat everyone with respect and in a fair and equitable manner. We will hold ourselves accountable and continue to do our very best to celebrate and protect the diversity in our community.
Daniel M. Pingrey
Chief of Police
City of Sammamish
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