Written by Mayor Don Anderson.
Recent events, both nationally and locally, have caused our community to raise its collective voice against the very real vestiges of a long national legacy of social injustice which stretches back hundreds of years.
I’ll spare you the platitudes mouthed by so many elected officials and won’t promise things that the City of Lakewood can’t deliver. We have problems as a society. If solutions were easy, they would already be in place.
The public wants answers about the May 1 death in Lakewood of Mr. Said Joquin, who perished in an officer involved shooting. So do we.
Every life cut short is a tragedy and we extend our condolences to Mr. Joquin’s family as they mourn his death. We can only imagine the suffering and pain they are experiencing.
Under recently passed Initiative 940, investigations into officer involved fatal incidents must be conducted by an independent agency. We ask for your patience as that investigation is being conducted by a consortium of outside law enforcement agencies. We have complete confidence that the agencies conducting the investigation will be objective and thorough.
Once the investigation is complete, the findings and details of what occurred will be shared with the public in an open and transparent manner. The facts and the law will determine our course of action, not bias, emotion or self-interest. If any wrongdoing is identified in the report, there will be accountability.
While we wait, know that our police chief is actively engaged in dialogue with religious leaders and members of the Lakewood Multicultural Coalition to discuss ways in which we can strengthen the relationship between our police department and our community. Trust is essential to the safety of the community and it has been strained to an unacceptable level.
Lakewood is the most diverse city in Pierce County, which is one of the many reasons I am honored to serve as Mayor. We have a history of greater racial harmony in Lakewood than is experienced in many other diverse communities, but we are deceiving ourselves if we don’t recognize that we have much room for improvement.
We cannot promise global solutions or particular outcomes. Here is what can be promised, both in the follow up to the investigation and in our efforts to address greater concerns in our community:
1) We will listen to you;
2) We will be honest and transparent; and
3) We will work diligently to insure that all people in our community are treated fairly and with respect by their public servants.