North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. responded formally to the death of George Floyd in a statement he read aloud prior to the start of the village board’s June 8 meeting, praising local police officers for their behavior while also decrying the Minneapolis man’s death on May 25 at the hands of a police officer.
“I could not be more disgusted with the police misconduct that unlawfully took the life of Mr. Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed black man,” Hermanek said in his prepared remarks. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Floyd’s family for their loss.”
The mayor’s full statement can be found online at this link.
Hermanek said the village “will not tolerate any forms of discrimination or racism regardless of a person’s skin color, religion or sexual preference,” whether they are residents, village employees or visitors.
“We are an inclusive village,” said Hermanek, pointing to the rainbow flag flying outside the Village Commons during June.
The statement also praised police, calling them “a diverse group that respects the rights of all individuals who they come into contact with on a daily basis. Our police treat everyone with dignity and fairness. They are highly trained and react in the proper manner for each situation because of this training.”
Hermanek also pointed out in his statement that during his seven years as mayor, no complaints have been filed against North Riverside police for excessive force or any civil rights violations.
According to federal court records, the last time a civil rights suit was filed against a North Riverside police officer was in 2002. That case was dismissed.
While praising demonstrators who have peacefully protested against police brutality in the past couple of weeks, including a peaceful march on June 7 that concluded at the steps of the police department, Hermanek also said the village would not tolerate criminal acts in response to it.
“I am a supporter of all those exercising their First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble and protest their outrage to these terrible acts,” Hermanek said. “However, I do not condone and will not tolerate any violence, looting or other unlawful conduct to be done to our village.”
North Riverside businesses in the Harlem-Cermak area suffered widespread vandalism and looting on May 31. But the vandalism and looting extended west on Cermak Road to businesses as far west as Fifth Avenue.