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AG Ford says Douglas County sheriff should not threaten to withhold protection for BLM support

Nevada's incoming Attorney General Aaron Ford speaks with The Associated Press, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/John Locher)
Nevada's incoming Attorney General Aaron Ford speaks with The Associated Press, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)(KOLO)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 3:45 PM PDT
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford issued a statement Thursday on a letter by Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley that the Douglas County Library not call 911 due to a proposed comment supporting Black Lives Matter.

Coverley has since said the sheriff’s office will respond to calls to the library.

Support for Black Lives Matter does not indicate “a belief that all law enforcement are corrupt and racist,” Ford said in his statement.

“To say Black lives matter is to acknowledge, at a minimum, what Attorney General William Barr recently recognized: The ‘widespread phenomenon’ that Black Americans ‘are treated with extra suspicion and maybe not given the benefit of the doubt[.]’ Ford said in the statement.

The movement is a statement against violence, and every Nevadan has the right to voice that position, Ford said. And so does the Douglas County library board.

“Therein sometimes lies one of the unnecessary and unfortunate difficulties – standing and voicing support for what should be an unremarkable proposition and risking misinterpretation or worse, reprisal, by those sworn to uphold the law,” Ford said. “It’s a false choice, and law enforcement should neither create the conundrum nor condone it.”

Ford said he welcomed Coverley’s follow-up statement that the sheriff’s office will continue to protect the library. No government official should issue a statement threatening to withhold protection for expressing support for something like Black Lives Matter, Ford said.

No representative for the sheriff’s office could be reached Thursday to respond to Ford’s comment.

“I am passionate about and proud of the work the Sheriff’s Office does for all members of this community,” Coverley said Tuesday in a follow up statement. “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. My response was rooted in my belief that these issues need to be openly discussed in a way that values diversity and law enforcement.”

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