Chief Patrick Molloy Reacts to Minneapolis Death and Reassures Abington Residents of His Commitment to the Community and Ongoing Collaboration with the Willow Grove N.A.A.C.P.

On behalf of all the men and women of the Abington Township Police Department, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. George Floyd.  While I can never fully understand the pain and anger that his loved ones are feeling after witnessing this video, I can assure you that law enforcement professionals throughout the country are appalled by this example of extreme police brutality, callousness, and failure to render aid.  All citizens should be outraged after witnessing this officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s throat while he was handcuffed, compliant, and in the prone position causing positional asphyxia. (positional asphyxia-a position that prevents a person from breathing adequately) What made this video even more disturbing was the complete lack of humanity displayed by the officers as Mr. Floyd pleaded for help and repeatedly complained that he could not breathe. The officer failed to even acknowledge his pleas for help and continued to kneel on his throat, while the other officers stood by for what appeared to be an eternity. The conduct of these officers is inexcusable, and all involved need to be held accountable.

Examples of police brutality in any jurisdiction have the potential to tear communities apart or otherwise uncover wounds of past racial tensions and disparities. Time and time again the actions of a few officers in one jurisdiction adversely effects all officers in their respective agencies throughout this Nation. We are deeply concerned for those members of our minority community who are angry and afraid, and we acknowledge that anger and fear. As police officers, we can never truly understand how this impacts our minority community, but I can promise you that we stand by your side and are always willing to work with you to address issues of disparity. As an organization, we are committed to a rigorous officer selection process, on-going use of force and de-escalation training, state and international accreditation, strict professional standards and citizens’ complaint processes, fair and impartial policing training, and a number of other training programs sponsored jointly by the Abington Human Relations Commission and the Willow Grove NAACP.  Because of these and so many other things, I assure you that what happened in Minneapolis will not happen in Abington.

Most people are unaware of the extreme anger and disgust that the vast majority of honorable officers feel when they witness other police officers abuse their authority, violate our code of ethics, or in this case, choke a handcuffed and compliant Mr. Floyd.  For the vast majority of us, this is a proud and noble profession, a vocation to serve and protect all of our fellow citizens, to be willing to sacrifice our safety to protect others, and to never discriminate based on a person’s race, religion, or sexual orientation.

In Abington, we know that the relationship with our African American community is one that we will never take for granted.  Much of our success has come from the leadership and commitment of retired Chiefs, Bill Kelly and John Livingood, along with the late President of the Willow Grove NAACP, Dr. Donald Clark and the current President Ms. Valerie Ward. Below is the Agreement between the Willow Grove NAACP and the Abington Township Police Department. Originally signed in 1998 and renewed this past February, this Agreement provides each organization with guidelines to foster better communication and collaboration.  Given the challenges that we face today, Ms. Valerie Ward and I wanted to share this Agreement with the Abington Community, as we look for support in organizing an Abington Community forum in the future.

As your Chief, I am fully committed to the best practices of 21st century policing with an emphasis on building trust and legitimacy. Community-Oriented Policing for our Department is not just a Division, but it is the dominant philosophy that guides all of our operations. Unlike most police departments, we have remained committed to programs designed to mentor our youth and divert them from the criminal justice system when appropriate (PAL, DARE, School Resource Officers, Youth Aid Panel, Community Service, Youth Police Academies, Police Explorers, etc.) None of these programs would be possible without the dedicated personnel and the army of volunteers that make up the Abington Township Police Department family.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the citizens of Abington Township for their support over the years.  It truly is an honor for us to be part of this profession and to serve you.  We look forward to strengthening our relationship with our residents and building trust. The Abington Township Police Department will remain committed to putting the needs of the community first.

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