This morning Prosecuting Attorney Mary Robnett sent the following as an email to employees. A few requested that it be shared more widely, so we are posting it here.
Note to the Office
I have not yet said anything to the office about the killing of George Floyd. That’s mostly because I’ve been at a loss as to what to say. The 4 minutes of video that I saw were disturbing and very difficult to watch. The lawyer in me wanted to see the entire 9 minutes but I couldn’t find it online. I read the statement of probable cause, and as a prosecutor I believe it is an accurate account of the actual evidence.
There is nothing I can say to the black community to ease the pain and fear and anger and rage they are feeling and I’m not even going to try. I will, however, listen. I am grateful to my friends of color who have shared their life experiences with me and helped me understand how different their lives have been from mine because of the color of their skin. I want everyone in this office to listen. We need to have these conversations even if they are difficult.
I am also afraid for law enforcement officers. Four officers shot in St. Louis last night. An officer shot and killed in Las Vegas. Two officers intentionally struck by a car in Buffalo. A police sergeant intentionally hit by a car in the Bronx.
This isn’t in far off Minnesota or New York or Chicago. Today on Pacific Ave storefronts are boarded up.
We are all dealing with this pandemic and the stress that goes with being separated, trying to work remotely, worried about our loved ones. And COVID is infecting and affecting communities of color at a higher rate.
So, in the midst of a very stressful pandemic, people losing their jobs, and great economic uncertainty, we find ourselves at this flashpoint. I say the flashpoint because so many people of color feel like they do not get justice from our criminal justice system. For our employees who are people of color, I want you to know that I recognize you are likely carrying extra weight because you are part of this office.
I swore an oath to uphold the constitutions and laws, as did every DPA. [Victim-witness advocate] Lori Wilson once told me she wanted to take an oath too, because she, like all our staff, is committed to justice and doing what is right. We must continue to do what is right in the most unbiased way we can, and to recognize that we’re still a long way off from living up to our ideals.
Doing this work is a privilege. We deal with difficult cases and we always will. So at this flashpoint, let’s listen to each other and to the community. We need to continue to do the right thing for the right reason. And we need to continue to strive to do better.
Thank you all for your service. Please stay safe.