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Prince George's County Police Chief shares powerful words to community amid protests and tension

"I can support the view that these protests are appropriate. Because I think the things that are happening now (police brutality) shouldn’t happen."

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The police chief for the Prince George's County Police Department spoke to those in his community via a teleconference on Wednesday. He shared powerful words, and confidently reassured his residents that he supports them. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, 50 years ago this nation saw riots and protests. 30 years ago, we saw a pandemic. And you’ve had to face all of that over the last 100 days. That’s not fair. When the world’s fair, it won't need us anymore," said Chief Hank Stawinski. 

Stawinski is the 17th police chief for the Prince George's County Police Department. He has been the head of the force since Mark Magaw retied in December 2015.

His comments come as days of protests have been seen across D.C., Maryland and Virginia over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Minnesota officials said Wednesday that all four officers allegedly involved in the death have been charged with crimes. 

The Memorial Day viral video showed Floyd being pinned down by his neck by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd, who is repeatedly heard in the video saying he can't breath and asking for Chauvin to get off his neck, died that day.

"With respect to these protests, have courage. I can support the view that these protests are appropriate. Because I think the things that are happening now (police brutality) shouldn’t happen," said Stawinski. I do what I do because I support you. I don’t want you to be in those positions. I’m not going to allow the actions of one or a few. Here or on the other side of this nation, define you."

Stawinski's comment comes after violence has been seen at protests across the nation, some worse in other areas of the country. 

Stawinski also said that police officers from his department will not be going to D.C. or Baltimore to help out with protests in those cities. He said there is enough going on within his jurisdiction for the department's officers to do so it can keep its residents safe.

"We have to support one another ... So talk to one another. You’re the finest people I know. We will prevail because you will see to it that we do," said Stawinski in his closing statements.

On Tuesday, Stawinski and his department suspended three officers in their department for excessive force when they arrested a person at a Langley Park gas station. 

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