Letter: Routt County commissioners speak out against sheriff’s comments | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Routt County commissioners speak out against sheriff’s comments

To the Routt County Community:

It was with great disappointment that we learned of the divisive comments made by Sheriff Garrett Wiggins in regard to protests against racism and specifically racism within law enforcement in this country. The Routt County Commissioners do not agree with Sheriff Wiggins’s statements. Sheriff Wiggins is independently elected and has full authority over his department. He is also accountable to you, his constituents. We are not in a position to tell him what to say in his position as our elected Sheriff. We do have an obligation to you to speak out against racism in all its forms.

This is a pivotal moment in our history — a time where people across the country have said that enough is enough, and we agree.

The systemic, institutionalized racism in this country is unacceptable. It is well-documented that black people in America are more likely to be profiled by law enforcement, die in an encounter with law enforcement, be subject to the use of force, stopped by law enforcement, pulled over, arrested for low level drug offenses, searched, and shot while unarmed.

The statistics are incredibly distressing. These are things that black Americans have known for a long time. We, as white Americans, are long overdue in realizing this. In Routt County and across the country, people are understandably outraged. This is a time for all of us, community leaders and citizens alike, to come together for accountability and change. The systems of racism in this country have gone on for far too long while we stand by and watch.

We support the efforts of those who seek to fix broken systems and deliver the justice that is long overdue to our black neighbors.

Protest is one of the foundations of our democracy. The ability for citizens to stand up and speak freely about the need for change is fundamental to who we are. Throughout history, protestors have been criticized or persecuted for their efforts by those they seek to disrupt in an effort to silence their voices. We stand by the right of Americans to protest; we stand by the need for systemic change; and we stand with the protestors who have come together to demand change. It is time for us all to join our voices to stand up to racism here in Routt County and across the country. 

Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan
Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger
Routt County Commissioner Beth Melton

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