The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners recently issued an order in support of law enforcement in Umatilla County. Commendable, as we all know that law enforcement is a difficult, often thankless job.

However, this sentence — "We are also troubled by a movement across the country to disregard and disrespect the 800,000 sworn officers who have taken an oath to protect the citizenry and preserve the peace” — is just plain wrong.

It makes false assumptions, misses the point, and seems designed to be divisive.

Statistics show that “people of color” suffer disproportionately in police killings. When this is a crime, most offending officers are not held accountable because of system-wide support for this racist behavior. This is systemic racism Mr. Elfering, since you didn't seem to know in the recent East Oregonian interview.

These protests have nothing to do with disrespect of “all police.” Instead, protesters are asking for, insisting on, justice when officers become criminals. They are asking for changes to the whole system — unions, DAs, laws, loyalty — that prevents that justice.

Are all three commissioners so poorly informed they would each make that mistake? Per the recent EO interview, they did not speak to any protesters. Instead, as Mr. Shafer said, they discussed it only among themselves and issued a proclamation.

I am proud of the Pendletonians who are speaking up. If our community values justice and equality, then let’s write that into our proclamations. And work together to make them available to everyone.

Jill Johnson


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