Knox County Sheriff David Clague says he was meeting Thursday with organizers of a peaceful protest that took place on Tuesday in Galesburg.
The Sheriff released a statement yesterday saying he “shares the concerns of the protestors”, he’s “here to listen”, and expresses hope for some kind of committee to work toward solutions.
Clague says the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was “appalling” and that “every decent law enforcement officer would agree.”
He says he was concerned and brought in extra officers Tuesday when they learned the protest was planned, wary after protests nationwide have seen varying levels of violence.
But Clague was highly complementarily of the event was organized and says he “supports peaceful protests.”
As far as affecting actual policy change, the Sheriff’s department has been working for months with a company to redo their general orders.
“There will be changes and even after the sitdown and what comes up in the future there’ll probably be more changes,” Clague says.
Clague says there have been committees and groups in the past that haven’t yielded a lot of change.
But he’s hopeful this time will be different, given the revolt seen around the country.
Clague says as revolting as past incidents around the country of law enforcement killing unarmed black men has been, they often didn’t seem to affect small towns much.
But he thinks the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis might be different.
The Sheriff says Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis officers was “appalling” but says the vast majority of police are good.
“We got through a relatively strenuous background check, interviews, polygraphs, and so on, but you still don’t know how that person’s going to act under pressure.”
Clague has been Knox County Sheriff since 2007.