A Message From Mayor Soriano: The Shock and Condemnation of George Floyd’s Murder

Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor Michael Soriano

PARSIPPANY — A message from Mayor Michael Soriano:

This past Monday, on a solemn day, meant to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, we were all exposed to a horrifying and disturbing video across news platforms and social media sites.

The shock and condemnation of George Floyd’s murder in broad daylight has been strong, swift, and nearly universal. And yet it seems that the underlying issues that have led to his and so many other needless deaths have yet to be addressed.

I cannot help but feel that, given the wrong time and place, I could have been George Floyd. I have been profiled several times in my life. While walking in the neighborhood I grew up in I was slammed onto the hood of a police car with a loaded service pistol pointed to my head, I sometimes wonder if things may have turned out worse that evening if I wasn’t wearing my Boy Scout uniform under my jacket. I still recall the horror I felt when I saw how badly my little brother’s face was beaten when he was in custody while handcuffed. Any of those incidents could have ended the same way – and without a camera to record it.

At the same time, I remember the compassion of the police officers that consoled my mother when my little brother passed. I have worked with police officers as a member of advisory boards, civic associations, and as Mayor. I studied Criminal Justice in college. I know and respect so many police officers. I have friends and family in law enforcement, and I worry about them, and I pray for all of those serving in law enforcement to return home safely after their shifts. But that doesn’t ease the pain I’ve felt with so many other people of color this week and so many other weeks in the past.

I have not known what to say since watching that video in horror several days ago. So many questions are raised that I do not have answers to. How can you push your knee into his neck for 8 minutes? How can the other officers just stand there? What if this wasn’t being filmed? Will we ever learn?

There is so much to be done at the federal and state levels across this country. Here in Parsippany, since taking office at a time when the Parsippany Police did not utilize body cameras, our department is now partially outfitted with them, with a full and complete rollout coming soon.

My heart aches for George Floyd’s family, which has grown to include millions of people this week, and I worry about those that are peacefully protesting each day and I pray that they return home safely. We have been thrust into a time of national mourning, and we are deeply in need of national healing. I hope you’ll join me in continuing to reflect on the events in Minneapolis and listening to those who have been most impacted by this violence. Please stay safe, take care of each other, and may God bless you.

-Mayor Michael Soriano