BROKEN BOW–Following a story covering a Black Lives Matter Protest in Broken Bow this week, KCNI/KBBN reached out to city officials for comment. (Click here to view the June 9 story.) Mayor Rod Sonnichsen and Councilman Dave Schmidt each made statements after the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 9. Both statements are posted below.
Mayor Sonnichsen stated, “In our position as elected leaders we represent all the people of this community no matter what their skin color is. We are very fortunate to have many nationalities that work and live together with us in harmony. So we will do our best as officials to keep that going in that direction.”
Mayor Sonnichsen also added some responses to recent questions that have come to his attention.
“We are well aware that the current protests are nationally driven, not locally driven. We know that for a fact here. The violence and destruction that is common with this current movement has put some of the citizens on the offensive when the protesters were in our community. The current laws are sufficient for all lawless—whether they be protesters or citizens as well. Last weekend’s protest was peaceful and the person requesting to protest completed all of the necessary correspondence with the police department prior to beginning. There is no future intention to change any law enforcement procedures, cut department staff, or defund the police department of Broken Bow as of this date–that was answering a question. Peaceful protest is legal under constitutional law as long as it remains peaceful.”
Councilman Dave Schmidt stated the following:
“I’d like to address the recently reported comments containing criticism of our local leadership for not speaking up regarding the current situation in our country surrounding racism and police brutality. To start, I would say that I applaud the lawful and peaceful protesters for exercising their right to be heard. That is what freedom looks like,” Schmidt stated.
“Next, I would add just because a public statement was not immediately rushed to the media I don’t think it’s fair to automatically assume ill-intent or to infer a negative connotation. In many cases the most sensible course of action is to remain silent, listen, and learn. I’ve no issue with publicly stating that I abhor the incident in Minnesota involving Mr. Floyd. In my 20 years of living here I’ve never seen, heard, or even heard rumor of similar behavior from our local law enforcement. I believe in justice for all and I have faith that the justice system that it will achieve that end given adequate time. We are a nation of laws and without supporting our local law enforcement with the proper resources, training, and manpower anarchy would result. Plato said, ‘from anarchy comes tyranny,’” Schmidt concluded.