Sheriff Tells Library Not to Call 911 If It Supports Black Lives Matter

A sheriff in western Nevada sent a letter to the county's local library that told them to not call law enforcement for help if they needed it. The reason? Douglas County Sheriff Daniel J. Coverley said the Douglas County Public Library system supports the Black Lives Matter movement, even though it wasn't entirely accurate.

The letter posted to the sheriff's department website starts by mentioning the May 25 death of George Floyd, who died while in the hands of Minneapolis police officers. The death of Floyd, a Black man, set off nationwide protests against his death and against racial injustice in the country. The Black Lives Matter movement started the protests, but some demonstrations across the country have become increasingly violent—which Black Lives Matter says is from outside agitators.

Coverley's letter goes through a history of violence against police in this country, and he provides statistics of police shootings before he gets to this final paragraph before concluding his letter.

"Due to your support of Black Lives Matter and the obvious lack of support or trust with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, please do not feel the need to call 911 for help," Coverley wrote to the library's board of trustees. "I wish you good luck with disturbances and lewd behavior, since those are just some of the recent calls my office has assisted you with in the past."

Black Lives Matter
Protesters hold up signs during a "Black Lives Matter" protest in front of Borough Hall on June 8, 2020 in New York City. Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Newsweek reached out to the Douglas County Public Library Board of Trustees for comment.

Coverley said his office is the only law enforcement in the entire county, and that BLM "calls all law enforcement corrupt and racist on their website."

"They call for the defunding of police, and we have seen how a lack of active law-enforcement has worked in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon," Coverley wrote. "Numerous Black Lives Matter protests have resulted in violence, property damage and the closing of local businesses, sometimes permanently. To support this movement is to support violence and to openly ask for it to happen in Douglas County."

Prior to those statements, Coverley said his department makes it a priority to reflect the diversity that's shown in the community, "regardless of race, gender or cultural issues."

The library trustees met Tuesday night to discuss a diversity statement, but it drew harsh criticism from the sheriff's office. So many people showed up for public comment that the library board shut off the meeting completely, according to Douglas County Public Library director Amy Dodson. Dodson said the library could have voted against the diversity issue, but never had the chance.

The sheriff's threat to not provide security "surprised" Dodson.

"I was surprised by the sheriff's response because we have a really good relationship with the sheriff's office," Dodson said in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We support and appreciate all the great work they do for us and the statement was not intended to be against them or any other law enforcement. We love our first responders."

Upon hearing of the cancellation of the meeting, the sheriff's department wrote another statement that says it is trying to better understand the diversity statements the library board would review.

"It is our understanding that the library board meeting has been cancelled," the website stated, without Coverley's name at the bottom of the letter. "At this time, we are having active conversations with the Library Director to try and understand the intent of their proposed diversity statement."

It went on to say the sheriff's department would continue responding to all 911 calls, including those from the library.

"My response to the Library's proposed agenda item was to provide public comment about their proposed diversity statement and to further provide open commentary about how this could affect our local law enforcement profession," the sheriff's department stated.

The diversity statement in question was four paragraphs in length, and mentioned Black Lives Matter just once while not mentioning law enforcement at all, the Review-Journal reported.

"We support #Black Lives Matter," the statement read. "We resolutely assert and believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality, and injustice don't belong in our society."

The statement also says the library system "denounces all acts of violence, racism and disregard for human rights."