"I don’t claim to know how everyone in Riley County feels after watching the horrific video of George Floyd in the last moments of his life, but I had the same gut reaction as when Walter Scott was murdered by a police officer in South Carolina and when Ahmed Aubrey was murdered in Georgia by vigilantes and then law enforcement and prosecutors were slow to do their jobs. There’s more examples I could cite.
You should know that we do not teach that arrest tactic and we do not tolerate it. We use an extensive review process for every use of force in response to resistance and every time we warn someone that we will use force.
I do believe that it is reasonable for people; especially minority citizens, to wonder if this could happen here in Riley County, or if they should trust members of the Riley County Police Department to not abuse their authority in a similar fashion. It is easy for me to say that you should trust us, but what really matters most is what we do every day in our service to you.
I ask you to trust that members of the Riley County Police Department work hard every day to earn and maintain your confidence in us, but we know that it can evaporate in an instance. My officers and I know that and we never want to have happen here what has happened in the places I just mentioned. We try to prevent it by the kind of people we hire, how we train them, and our expectations of how they treat people, including each other. I have said for years that if we treat our officers well they are more likely to do the same in their service to others. When I was appointed to this position I also told my employees that we will make mistakes and we will get through them, but I could not and would not tolerate willful or malicious mistreatment of citizens, arrestees, inmates or each other.
Again, these are only words so judge us by what we do and know that we understand the pain many experience when watching the people sworn to protect them do the opposite." - An open letter from Director Dennis Butler to the Riley County Community