Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley caused a stir when he refused to help the county's public library. They have since revoked their proposed statement in support of the movement.
The public library in Douglas County, Nevada, hoped to take a stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this week. In a proposed diversity statement, they publicly expressed their support of the campaign—only to receive nothing short of a warning from the Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley. In a written reply, he claimed he would not respond to emergency calls from the library if they were to release the statement, The Washington Post reports. He also wished the library "good luck with disturbances and lewd behavior." The officer has been widely criticized for his statement though, surprisingly, it is completely legal for a cop to not attend to a 911 call.
The public library in Douglas County, Nevada (Black pop. 1%) wanted to make sure "everyone is welcome" and proposed a diversity statement that said #BlackLivesMatter. But Sheriff Daniel Coverley said he would no longer respond to 911 calls at the library.https://t.co/TiPeNN7TEL— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 29, 2020
"Everyone is welcome at the Douglas County Public Libraries," the proposed statement read. "We support #BlackLivesMatter. We resolutely assert and believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality, and injustice don't belong in our society." The library also promised "free and equal access" to all their services regardless of age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political persuasion, disability, national origin, and income level, among other socioeconomic factors. It is this statement, which reaffirmed the library's commitment to change, progress, and equality that prompted Sheriff Coverley to release his own.
Douglas County Public Library Board was going to adopt this statement today supporting #BlackLivesMatter. DC Sheriff Dan Coverley submitted the letter below. Library Board cancelled their meeting today. https://t.co/Tb5u3o59Py pic.twitter.com/cHOzx6DXMw— Blayne Osborn (@BlayneOsborn) July 28, 2020
He asserted in a letter, "Due to your support of Black Lives Matter and the obvious lack of support or trust with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, please do not feel the need to call 911 for help. I wish you good luck with disturbances and lewd behavior." Needless to say, the Sheriff evidently missed the mark in his reading of the Douglas County Public Libraries statement and responded in anger. However, members of the community as well as individuals online were quick to criticize the letter. Thus, Coverley wrote a follow-up statement to further explain his bigotry. (The Douglas County Sherrif's website has also taken down his first statement.)
A library in Las Vegas proposed a diversity statement in support of BLM affirming “We resolutely assert & believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality, and injustice don’t belong in our society.”— Maggie Jordan (@MaggieJordanACN) July 29, 2020
The Sheriff for that county responded, don’t call 911 if you need help pic.twitter.com/fZDeK4gZIH
"This has been a difficult time to be a law enforcement professional and can be disheartening when we perceive that our office may be under attack," he wrote on Tuesday in a Facebook post. "My response was rooted in my belief that these issues need to be openly discussed in a way that values diversity and law enforcement." Following the second letter, Douglas County Library Director Amy Dodson and Sherriff Coverley had a "candid conversation" about the proposed diversity statement and what it would mean for the relationship between the library and the Sherriff's office.
Dodson thus affirmed in a statement to the Reno Gazette-Journal, "We agreed that we both support the people of Douglas County and this may have been an unfortunate circumstance of misunderstanding. The library respects and supports the work of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and appreciates everything they do to keep our community safe." The note on diversity has, at present, been sadly put on hold. The library plans to bring it back up for a public debate at a later date in order to determine if it should be published.