OC Supervisors Approve Resolution Supporting Protests and Police

June 10, 2020 Updated: June 10, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS)—The Orange County Board of Supervisors on June 9 approved a resolution supporting local law enforcement as well as activists protesting the killing of George Floyd.

Supervisor Don Wagner proposed the resolution.

“It has rightly incensed so many people around this country, who are now taking to the streets in protest of that violence,” Wagner said of Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

“But it’s also important to try in this resolution to recognize there are good men and women on the front line of law enforcement,” Wagner said.

Wagner characterized the arrest, with one officer holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds as he complained he could not breathe and cried out for help, as “thuggish behavior.”

Wagner added that local law enforcement “are doing a very difficult, but by and large very professional job” as they respond to multiple protests that have sprung up after the death of Floyd and others in recent weeks.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said there have been “well over three dozen” protests “with more to come.”

Barnes said his primary objective is to “support the First Amendment rights of people peacefully protesting,” and that he was “very proud of the professionalism and restraint” shown by his department over the past two weeks.

Barnes said he has never seen a police technique involving placing a knee on the neck of a suspect.

“I’ve never seen that so-called technique used in Minneapolis,” Barnes said. “It’s not a technique we train for here … nor is it anything I would condone. If I ever saw any of my officers use that use of force for eight minutes … I would have walked him straight to the District Attorney’s Office for filing.

“It was unforgivable, the actions that took place there, but that is not something we do here. That is not something that would ever be condoned and should be condemned.”

Supervisor Doug Chaffee said he was “very pleased” Barnes’ department would not use that type of force.

Chaffee requested that instead of saying the resolution supports African-Americans and “people of color,” it should be rewritten to substitute “black members of our community” instead of African-American, because not all black people trace their ancestry to Africa.

“We need to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” Chaffee said.

Wagner said he struggled with the revision because Floyd was a “member of the African-American community,” and the resolution included “people of color.”

Wagner added that the protests include “not solely black people, but people of all colors, rightly, thankfully.”

Wagner said he accepted Chaffee’s revision to change the characterization of the arrest as “inexcusable treatment” to “brutal” and “resulting in his death.”

Chau Named County’s Chief Health Officer

Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, was named the county’s chief health officer on June 9 by the Board of Supervisors.

Chau was named to his new position following the abrupt resignation of Dr. Nichole Quick, who had faced intense pressure over her order requiring face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Quick had held the job since June 2019, and had also been assuming some responsibilities of the director of public health services. She resigned on June 8 after drawing criticism from some residents and two members of the Board of Supervisors, who had repeatedly grilled her publicly regarding her order to require face coverings as the county allowed some businesses to reopen.

OC Reports 13 New COVID-19 Deaths

The Orange County Health Care Agency on June 10 reported 13 people succumbed to COVID-19, the second-highest number since the pandemic began, raising the death toll to 198.

The county also reported 147 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total to 7,737. The number of people hospitalized stands at 306, an increase of two from June 9, with the number of patients in the intensive care unit remaining at 146.

The number of people tested for COVID-19 in the county stands at 168,158, with 3,511 documented recoveries.

The deadliest day so far was May 21, when 14 deaths were reported in the county.