A Message from Mayor Barbara Halliday
Dear Hayward Community,
I write today to express to you on behalf of our entire city organization our shared anger and dismay over the heinous acts of police brutality that took place on the streets of Minneapolis resulting in the death of George Floyd on May 25th. Yesterday, we adjourned our City Council meeting in Mr. Floyd’s memory with hope that his senseless death will be a catalyst to truly bring about the change that is needed to ensure equal treatment under the law and in all aspects of our government for all people in communities throughout our nation, including Hayward.
George Floyd’s unnecessary death is one of many tragic incidences of racial injustice in our country that have ignited justified pain and anger over continued systemic racism in the United States. It is incumbent upon each of us to heed the call for justice we are hearing all around us and to take responsibility for fulfilling the demands for accountability and change.
Our City Council, City Manager, Police Chief and the remainder of our city organization are committed to this effort, fully aware that our challenge is being made all the more difficult by a pandemic that is still hospitalizing people and exacting its own inequitable toll across communities of color.
I want to share with you and request your participation in some of the ways your City government is responding—as well as discuss steps we have taken to preserve the right of expression and protest while maintaining public safety.
- Today, our Police, Fire and Maintenance Services departments will be working together to create space and facilitate safe passage for a planned demonstration scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at City Hall Plaza. I plan to stand with others attending this rally to add my voice to their calls for justice.
- On Monday, June 8th, beginning at 6 p.m., we are planning an online Town Hall-style meeting of our recently established Community Advisory Panel to the Chief of Police. Watch for details in your email, on social media and KHRT Channel 15 for ways to attend and participate. This will be an opportunity for honest dialogue about police-community relations in the City of Hayward.
- On Tuesday, June 9th, the City Council is restoring a period of time during each Council meeting for general public comment on topics and items of business not otherwise listed on our meeting agendas. This practice had been suspended along with in-person meetings of the Council as we moved online to comply with state and county coronavirus shelter-in-place orders. As the pandemic continues, however, we’re committed to ensuring our community members are able to fully participate in public meetings, even as we continue to meet online.
- At the direction of Chief of Police Toney Chaplin, the Hayward Police Department is now making the body-worn-camera video footage of critical incidents in which officers discharge their service weapons publicly available as soon as possible. These videos are being posted to the HPD website and shared over social media to create transparency and to allow for community dialogue about these events.
As we have witnessed on news reports from around the country, we are seeing rightful and heartfelt protest drowned out by opportunistic and dangerous violent activity, including looting and vandalism. Because this violence and its harmful consequences tend to occur after the sun has set, Hayward and cities throughout our region and nation have enacted curfews as a temporary but necessary step under the circumstances to keep the peace after dark while preserving the right of free speech, assembly, and expression during 15 hours of each day. While Hayward has rescinded its own curfew order, we will continue to enforce a similar countywide curfew order issued by Alameda County shortly after our own was issued. Curfews are not a step we take lightly, but rather an attempt to balance the right of legitimate and helpful protests with the protection of the protesters and the rest of our city from acts of violence. In implementing the county curfew here in Hayward, Police Chief Chaplin has asked our officers to emphasize education over enforcement, sharing with persons they encounter out after 8 p.m. that a curfew is in effect and asking questions instead of simply making assumptions about why someone is out past the curfew. This order will not be used as a tool for racial profiling and will be implemented consistent with our status as a Sanctuary City.
I, along with your entire City government share the shock and anger many are voicing over the unjust killing of George Floyd and the many other people of color murdered in recent memory. We stand with the Hayward community and with the family of Mr. Floyd, against the injustice that took place in Minneapolis on May 25th, and are committed to the long work of healing and overcoming racism in all its forms, in our community and throughout the country.
We hope you will stand with us and share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns as we move forward in the coming weeks and months toward achieving this goal. As I leave you, I am reminded of a statement eloquently spoken by the iconic Gandhi, which states, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” The City of Hayward stands with all its community members, and we will continue to diligently fight for equality and justice for all members of this great city.
Mayor Barbara Halliday