FRIDAY, JUNE 5
Hello. I’m Mayor Susan Seaman. As I’ve shared with you in my previous communications, the City of Eureka is continuing to work strenuously to support the health and well-being of our citizens, our community, and our economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, however, I want to add that we also support the health and well-being of our citizens and community as we address concerns of systematic racism in law enforcement and racism in our community.
We have been through quite a lot in the last week, as a country and as a community. The death of George Floyd spurred outrage – and it should have. It was an abuse of power. It was murder. And not at the hands of not one officer, but also those who watched it happen.
The resulting protests led to some impactful conversations between activists and law enforcement officers locally. All of the criticism – no matter how difficult it was to hear – brought clarity of perspective, and a desire to do what we can to face and eradicate racism from our department.
When we excuse law enforcement officers that victimize people of color, and when we allow policies that don’t address implicit bias, we are sending a message to the victims of these broken policies that we don’t hear them. Beyond that, we send a message to people that it’s acceptable behavior. We see things like the murder of Ahmaud Arbery perpetuated by racists who used the excuse that they thought he was breaking the law to kill him. We see citizens use the police as a weapon against people of color, like Amy Cooper calling the police to threaten a birdwatcher rather than follow the law herself. Those were not acts of violence by the police, but violence and threats committed because there are far too many people who have built a narrative of fear around a system that perpetuated it. Those are examples that happened across the country and not in our back yard, but Eureka is not immune to it. We need to be mindful of our own motivations when we find ourselves reporting the activities of people of color.
The Council and I have a shared objective to address the concerns we have heard from the community. In times like this, swift action is requested. Several people have reached out with information about a variety of reform platforms. Thank you. For the past several years, EPD has been making efforts to address several issues brought up in these platforms, like implicit bias training, de-escalation techniques and community policing. The process is never finished, however, and we can and will continue to do more. We will be reviewing our current policies and practices to find areas for improvement. We will engage all of the departments at City Hall in our efforts. We will seek community engagement. We will find ways to make meaningful progress and we will begin immediately.
If you would also like to research the Eureka Police Department policies and practices, you can find them on the Eureka Police Department website at the Transparency Portal. There you can find links to the policy manual, general orders and memorandums, training, body worn camera policies, community engagement and other topics of interest.
For those who have questions about the two incidents of cars that drove through the demonstration, a red jeep and a white truck, both incidents are being investigated and will be forwarded to the District Attorney when that investigation is complete.
Finally, I do want to remind people that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. If you found that you were around a lot of people this weekend, there is a testing site at Redwood Acres for COVID 19. Testing is free, and you may get retested as often as you need. To schedule a test, visit LHI.care/covidtesting.
As always, and in addition to our video updates and social media posts, you can find regular updates about COVID 19 at the City of Eureka’s website, which is ci.eureka.ca.gov, as well as links to other important community resources.
Again, I’m Mayor Susan Seaman, and I appreciate your attention to this message. Be safe, stay healthy, be patient with yourself and kind to your neighbors and family. We’ll talk again soo