A sheriff who took the knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters in Orlando last month has had his re-election endorsement by Florida police union rescinded
- Fraternal Order of Police voted unanimously on Tuesday to rescind endorsement
- Orange County Sheriff John Mina took the knee with BLM protesters last month
- He said he and Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón were asked to kneel by some young men during the protest in a show of solidarity with the BLM movement
A Florida sheriff who took the knee with Black Lives Matter protests last months has had his re-election endorsement by a Florida police union rescinded.
Members of the The Fraternal Order of Police who voted unanimously to rescind the endorsement of Orange County Sheriff John Mina in his re-election bid on Tuesday.
A survey of members found that a majority of respondents complained about low morale, with many saying they believed that Mina would not back them up if they were involved in a use-of-force case that became public, according to Fox 35.
A number of Sheriff Mina’s deputies were disappointing when he took a knee – a sign of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrating against police brutality and racial injustice.
‘You knelt with the same protesters/rioters who were hurling insults and bricks at us for your own political gain,’ read one comment in the survey.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina (pictured near-left taking a knee along-side Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón and Black Lives Matter protesters last month) has lost his re-election endorsement from The Fraternal Order of Police after the action
Mina reportedly took the knee with demonstrates in Orlando who were protesting against police brutality and systemic racism following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while being detained by police officers in Minneapolis.
The four officers involved – Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, James Kueng and Thomas Lane – have since been fired and are facing criminal charges.
In a statement from Mina, he said that he and Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón were asked by a group of young protesters who asked them to kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘The two young gentlemen asked us to kneel and we said, “Well, why don’t we kneel and pray?”‘ Mina told Fox News.
‘And so we did, and I think that sent a great message not only to the people protesting out there but to our officers and our deputies who were watching their two leaders here in Orange County kneel, take a knee and listen to what the protesters had to say.’
Mina said in a statement that young men at the protests asked him to kneel with them in a sign of solidarity. Above, John Mina describes the details of the fatal shootings at the Pulse Orlando nightclub during a media briefing Monday, June 13, 2016
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón, pictured above, was also asked to kneel by some young men during the protest in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement
When the news station reached out to Mina for comment, he released a formal statement, saying that he is disappointing that the union rescinded the endorsement.
‘I understand that these are tough times in law enforcement – we are all feeling vilified because of the intense spotlight on law enforcement misconduct,’ the statement said.
‘I value and respect our deputies and all of their hard work. They risk their lives every day, doing one of the most difficult and complex jobs in the world. And they are some of the best law enforcement has to offer.
‘But I am the Sheriff of everyone in Orange County, and voters elected me to keep this community safe. I am accountable to them – and I am also accountable to all members of this agency,’ he continued.
Thousands of protesters across the United States took to the streets to protest against racial injustice. Pictured; Black Lives Matter protesters march down Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, Florida
‘The changes I have already instituted at the Sheriff’s Office might have been the impetus for the union’s decision to pull its endorsement by a vote of 50 members. If that’s the case, I accept that.’
Mina went on to say that he acknowledges that his community is ‘pleading for change’ and that he would ‘continue to work of finding common ground with memebers of our community.’
In his statement, he also made it clear he has had to make difficult decisions himself in the past when his deputies have used excessive force, and has even terminated some for breaking the law.
‘But I want everyone at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to know that I am extremely proud of the work they do. My door is always open to them and I am willing to have any discussions, even difficult ones,’ his statement concluded.