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Hawthorne City Council Member Haidar Awad’s Statement Regarding The Murder of George Floyd and The Resulting Protests

The death of George Floyd was at once brutal and criminal. The offensive symbolism of a white man with his knee on the throat of an African American man has not escaped any of us.

Yet, as offensive as Mr. Floyd’s senseless murder is, equally offensive are those who stood by and did nothing but watch as a fellow human being pleaded for help—that’s textbook depraved indifference.

I am personally offended and emotionally pained by that violent act of inhumanity and grieve for the Floyd family.

But the bigotry and violence fixed on Mr. Floyd are sadly only the latest in our troubled history. A history of pain and prejudice, brutality, and exploitation against African Americans.

So, is it any wonder that this recent act of brutality has sparked historic levels of outrage and activism?

The Los Angeles Times Op-Ed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explains it best:

So, maybe the black community’s main concern right now isn’t whether protesters are standing three or six feet apart or whether a few desperate
souls steal some T-shirts or even set a police station on fire, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops or wannabe cops just for going on a walk, a jog, a drive. Or whether being black means sheltering at home for the rest of their lives because the racism virus infecting the country is more deadly than COVID-19.

While I cannot begin to know what life is like for my African American friends and neighbors who face racial bigotry and constant fear of violence, I will stand with them and fight these injustices.

We must agree that there is a fundamental failure in our country if anyone is harassed and threatened by the very institutions that should be protecting them.

Like so many Americans, I was taught to respect police officers and trust that they were here to help and protect us.

As a city council member, local businessman, homeowner, and resident, I know that most police officers live up to that ideal. I respect the women and men who risk their lives every day to protect us and rationally know that the death of Mr. Floyd is not reflective of the majority of our officers who are also good friends and neighbors.

We must be cautious not to condemn all of law enforcement just as we should not condemn the vast number of peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights because a few individuals are looting.

But let’s face it—there are those who should never have become police officers and some who should no longer be in positions of authority.

As your elected city council member, I have a moral and legal responsibility to act and not stand silently watching as those in pain cry out for help.

Therefore, I am immediately calling for a review of hiring and training practices by the Hawthorne Police Department. I further ask that my city council colleagues join me in this call for transparency.

The safety of every Hawthorne resident is my highest priority, and when anyone does not feel safe when encountering police, action is demanded and expected.

Moving forward, I will bring Hawthorne’s diverse communities together to build a common bond of trust and foster a healthy relationship with law enforcement. I pledge to be part of the solution and honor the memory of George Floyd and those who lost their lives in this struggle.

Haidar Awad
Hawthorne City Council