A Nevada sheriff threatened to stop responding to 911 calls from a local library after it expressed support for Black Lives Matter in a proposed diversity statement.
The diversity statement was included in an agenda for a Douglas County Public Library meeting scheduled for this past Tuesday. The agenda was published on July 22. In the statement, the library stated every person is welcome regardless of “race, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political persuasion, disability, status, national origin or income level.”
The library also declared its support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The statement did not mention law enforcement at all.
“The Douglas County Public Library denounces all acts of violence, racism and disregard for human rights. We support #BlackLivesMatter,” the statement continued. “We resolutely assert ad believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality and injustice don’t belong in our society.”
The library’s endorsement upset Douglas County Sheriff Daniel J. Coverley, who posted a letter to the library on Monday. In his message, Coverley threatened to stop responding to 911 calls from the library in his rural Nevada district.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
Coverley also included a slew of statistics and argued “data simply does not support claims that law enforcement is systemically racist or structurally biased.” He warned the librarians about potential violence against law enforcement officers due to “myths about the police” not being “strongly repudiated by our local, state and national leaders.”
A day after Coverley released his letter, he dropped a joint statement with Douglas County Library Director Amy Dodson. Coverley blamed his first statement on his passion for policing.
“I am passionate about and proud of the work the Sheriff’s Office does for all members of this community,” Coverley said. “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.”
“Sheriff Coverley and I had a very candid conversation about the statement and we both expressed our opinions regarding the intent of our exchanged correspondence,” Dodson said. “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 U.S. Census identifies Douglas County, which is located in western Nevada and borders Lake Tahoe and California, as approximately 92 percent white, with a Black population of roughly 1 percent.