Sheriff threatens library that drafted diversity statement

July 29, 2020 GMT

RENO, Nevada (AP) — A Nevada sheriff posted a letter on his office’s website telling his county’s library to not bother calling 911 for help anymore after the library considered supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley posted the letter after the Douglas County Public Library considered publishing a statement in support of diversity and inclusion. A public meeting to consider the statement was later canceled, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.


“We support #BlackLivesMatter,” a part of the statement said. “We resolutely assert and believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality and injustice don’t belong in our society.”

Coverley wrote in response, “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, since those are just some of the recent calls my office has assisted you with in the past.”

Library Director Amy Dodson said the diversity statement was meant to reinforce that the library welcomes individuals of all backgrounds.

“It simply was meant to state our inclusivity at the library, that we are open and welcoming to everyone and we treat everyone equally,” Dodson said.

The police killing of George Floyd prompted protests across the U.S. and around the world against police brutality and racial injustice. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground.

Coverley said numerous protests “resulted in violence, property damage and the closing of local businesses.”

A county spokeswoman, Melissa Blosser, later walked back the notion that the sheriff’s office would no longer respond to 911 calls from the library.

“Sheriff Coverley would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will continue to respond to all 911 calls, including those at the Library,” Blosser said in a written news release.

Coverley later wrote in a statement that his open letter was “to provide public comment about their proposed diversity statement and to further provide open commentary about how this could affect our local law enforcement profession.”

Coverley did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Reno Gazette Journal.