Senator Witkos Releases Statement Regarding Ongoing Protests

June 1, 2020

“It is heartbreaking that we continue to see incidents of excessive force by police officers leading to the death of minority individuals across our country. Perhaps just as frustrating is the fact that we also come to learn that in some situations these officers have had a documented history of excessive force or other red flags.

As a retired police sergeant and someone who holds the profession in great esteem, I can tell you that officers involved in these acts do not belong in a law enforcement agency. They do not reflect the great majority of men and women who take very seriously their oaths to serve and protect individuals of all races and backgrounds. The actions of these few tarnish the good work of the many. It is for that reason, that the upstanding men and women of law enforcement need to take a stand against these heinous acts no matter when or where they happen. Officers, unions, and administrations need to hold one another accountable.

Over the past few days I have also been saddened to see well-meaning protests become hijacked by those who desire to cause mayhem, instead of honoring people like George Floyd and fighting for change that is long overdue for many communities. People are hurting and they have the absolute right to protest against injustice. One of the hallmarks of our country is that individuals have the freedom to march, to call for change, and to protest in a safe, law abiding manner.

While laws differ from state to state, here in Connecticut we have taken meaningful steps in recent years to address use of force and accountability. Just last year, the State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 380, a bill focusing on these specific issues. I was proud to have co-sponsored, worked on, and supported these efforts. However, these issues do not go away simply because a bill is passed. This must be an ongoing conversation and meaningful efforts must continue.”

– Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos, 8th District