City of San Bruno stands with its Chief of Police in condemning the
death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Racism and injustice have
no place in the City with a Heart.
San Bruno is not perfect.
We recognize this and invite all of our constituents to take the
time to self-reflect on racism and inequality throughout your lifetime
and how the systems that have been put in place have impacted our
communities of color here in San Bruno. We have members in our
community who lived through segregationist America. They recall
when Black and Brown individuals were required to sit in the back of
the bus. We have members in our community who remember when Black
and Brown individuals could not swim in the same swimming pool.
We have members in our community who remember when Black and
Brown individuals were not allowed to live in parts of our community
because of the color of their skin. We also have members in our
community, a new generation of leaders, who are calling on all of us to
stop the on-going racism that still exists 56 years after the Civil
Rights Act was signed into law. This “Call to Action” by our
youth in 2020 America is a reminder to all of us that mindsets and
mindshifts are a significantly greater obstacle than enacting
We call on our senior community to tell your
stories and we call on our youth to advise us on how we can be more
inclusive. We call on our Black and Brown men and women to tell
us your stories of daily life in 2020 America and possibly more
uncomfortable for all of us…2020 San Bruno. We have been
listening. We hear your list of endless fears…being pulled over
by the police…walking in your neighborhood at night…wearing clothes
without too many pockets…We…Hear…You…
San Bruno is listening.
We encourage our community to self-reflect and engage in a
dialogue amongst different races and ages because our history with
Black and Brown America is complex and uncomfortable, but its impacts
live on today in the daily lives of our Black and Brown community.
Mr. Floyd's death reminds us that there is significant work left
to be done to achieve true equality and justice for all.
November 19, 2019, the San Bruno City Council signed a resolution
committing to raise awareness and spark action and conversations to
stop hate and to build inclusion by participating in the “United
Against Hate” campaign. San Bruno “United Against Hate” empowers
all of our residents to take action in San Bruno to alter the course of
growing intolerance while rejecting negative messages. We call on
our San Bruno family to actively participate in this campaign by
turning words into action 365 days a year.
In recent weeks,
residents of San Bruno have gathered for nonviolent, peaceful
demonstrations, in the name of equality. Our City departments,
including the San Bruno Police Department, welcome the demonstrations.
We encourage all of our residents to join us in engaging and
educating ourselves on the national conversation around race and
equality happening now. The City of San Bruno stands in solidarity with
As elected leaders and policymakers we acknowledge that at
the core of America’s values is the promise that all men are created
equal and entitled to justice. These promises are included in the
Declaration of Independence and in the Pledge of Allegiance that we
cite and re-commit to before every City Council meeting. The
complexity of these promises are the uncompromising realities that are
embedded in America’s history of racism and injustice that are
amplified because the promises for all have only been delivered to
some. The hope we are given today is that the story of America is
still being written and we are the authors of tomorrow.
San Bruno, we are proud of our diversity. As the City with a
Heart we ask our entire City family to allow our hearts to unite us and
our conscience to guide us."
-San Bruno City Council
June 9, 2020
|On June 8, 2020, the City of San Bruno supported a student led “9 Minute of Silence” event at San Bruno City Park by printing San Bruno Stands United Against Hate posters
and buttons, which were provided to participants. The buttons were also
worn by Police Officers and other city employees who wished to express
their support. On that same day, I emailed the following statement to
all City employees and the San Bruno City Council. Due to the
overwhelming expressions of support and warm reception, the statement
is republished below:|
“Over the past week, I sat down to collect
my thoughts and start this message. Each time, I was either overcome
with emotion or found myself at a loss of words. How do I balance the
myriad issues and articulate the complicity of being black in America,
being someone who values the service of law enforcement, and someone
who holds the unique position of being one of (or the) youngest
African-American city managers in the Country?
George Floyd’s death stirs up a range of emotions from anger to fear.
Watching the video reminds me of a lesson that my parents taught to me
– it is a similar conversation that every parent of a black male must
have and a conversation that I dread having with my five year old son. “You
are a black male and some people will fear you. You will see women pull
their purse closer when you walk by, people will think you are
following them, and when you are stopped by the police do everything
you can to make them feel comfortable. Not all cops are bad, but some
will approach you in fear of their life. Son, always remember that the
side of the road is not the place to debate the Constitution. You can
be dead right…literally 100% right and end up dead. Do not resist, just
comply and you will live to see another day. There is nothing you can
do to change this. It is the lasting history of slavery and racial bias
in our country. I love you and want you to come home every day.”
the first time, I find myself questioning the lesson that my parents
taught me. It feels like a lie. I know it saves lives, but I also know
that there is nothing that I or other African-Americans can do alone to
eliminate racial bias and injustice. George Floyd’s death and the
multiple videos that captured the entire incident clearly illustrate
Voices for change in the middle of a tragedy
are insufficient. We saw this in the words of bystanders to Mr.
Floyd’s death and all of the prior calls for change after a race-based
tragedy garners attention.
The momentum for lasting
change that has been ignited by George Floyd’s death is a moment for
internal reflection for all Americans and collective action to complete
the work that began in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.
That movement resulted in a monumental change for our Country,
but it failed to permeate the hearts and minds of all Americans.
It failed to force all Americans to see the value of opting into the
discussion about race and equality. And, it failed to produce
overarching systematic change in every community.
generations of kids have been raised in households where the topic of
race is too uncomfortable for their parents to address. As a
result, they are forced to grapple with the complexities of difference
and America’s legacy of slavery, segregation, and discrimination alone
or with their equally uninformed peers.
it. Race is uncomfortable for everyone and that is okay.
Simultaneously, we must also face the fact that silence in the face of
injustice is complicity. This is what the growing chorus of woke
Americans are yelling. They are yelling in the midst of a deadly
pandemic that enough is enough and we all must be uncomfortable. Myself
included. I, unlike most of my close African-American peers,
avoid the conversation of race. It makes me uncomfortable. I
cannot seem to rationalize why I was blatantly skipped over by a server
at a restaurant while in college and why a White graduate student that
observed the incident was more motivated than I to fight the system.
I was more motivated to complete my Master’s degree than start a
fight to point out how I was wronged. I guess I was following the
lessons that my parents taught me – “you can’t change it, just deal with it and live. Work hard and your reward will come.”
Back to my five year old son, while leaving for work today, he said, “Daddy, why did you decide to become a City Manager instead of a Policeman?”
[FYI, he loves the police and I have yet to break his youthful
ignorance with “the talk”.] After pausing for a moment, I said
being a City Manager means that I can influence change and help in many
areas - not just the police, but libraries and parks. He then said, “what does influence mean?” and I knew that I had successfully avoided “the talk”
again. Hopefully, by the time I must have the conversation, I will have
something better to share than you can’t change it, just work hard and
make the police know you are not a threat.
At 37, I
am proud of the professional success that hard work has provided. It
provides me the opportunity to shape change and ensure that our local
systems are fair and equitable. It afforded me the opportunity to
introduce our community to the United Against Hate campaign, which the
San Bruno City Council adopted last year and rolled out to other
Peninsula cities. And, specific to the current conversation,
being a City Manager has afforded me the opportunity to participate in
confidential personnel discipline proceedings for officers and witness
firsthand when blue holds blue accountable.
San Bruno, we have an amazing Police Department. A Department
that is led by a Police Chief, Ryan Johansen, who recognizes the
importance of this moment. As a member of law enforcement, he has
also lost a partner on the job and understands the inherent risks that
San Bruno and cops across the Country face.
Officer’s reality and fears for their own life are a part of the
conversation and any lasting change must be influenced by and reflect
the experience of those that put their life on the line to protect
Until we are all comfortable talking about
race, we cannot achieve America’s dream of a perfect union…locally or
nationally. It is time for everyone to talk about race without fear.
Let us not go back to our daily lives unchanged, only to express
outrage the next time a senseless death occurs…black, brown or white.
Let us make personal commitments to change our collective reality.
In closing, I make the following commitments:
I commit to facing my hesitancy with the topic of race and
initiate a personal and professional conversation with the men and
women of the San Bruno Police Department;
commit to lead a comprehensive review of our local use of force
policies and disciplinary procedures that will culminate in the release
of a public report, so the community will know and understand our
internal processes for accountability, fairness and justice;
I commit to make time in my personal life for mentoring youth
through my membership in the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area –a chapter
of a national organization that’s committed to support black youth
achieve their full potential; and,
4. I commit to
continue supporting the National Forum for Black Public Administrators,
whose vision is to inspire leadership development and service
excellence with integrity and accountability, while transforming the
way we govern."
-Jovan D. Grogan, City Manager
the wake of George Floyd’s death and the growing call for changes in
law enforcement, the San Bruno Police Department (SBPD) has initiated a
review of Department policies and data with respect to use of force and
arrest demographics. SBPD is also working with outside law
enforcement agencies to identify and implement best practices to avoid
racially biased policing. This effort will be combined with the
independent review process that the City Manager has committed to
lead. Both efforts will culminate in the release of a public
report, so the community will know and understand San Bruno’s internal
processes for accountability, fairness, and justice. We expect this
work be completed in Fall 2020 and include public meetings to both
present and discuss the findings with the public and the City Council.|
addition, San Bruno Police Chief Ryan Johansen will establish a
“Listening Campaign” with the community by hosting informal
conversations regarding police reforms and community relations with the
Lastly, the following videos were
issued by Chief Johansen, to discuss current SBPD policies as well as
steps the Police Department is taking in response to the killing of
George Floyd including our interpretation of #8CANTWAIT.
Johansen also shares a heartfelt message about the continued service
the Police Department has provided to support our community.
Chief Johansen says, “The men and women of the San Bruno Police
Department are truly wonderful human beings and exceptional people who
are deeply committed to your well-being and to protecting you in a
manner that you want to be protected. We will continue to earn
the trust you provided to us contact by contact.”
|San Bruno Police Department Policies and #8CANTWAIT|
|I Love You - #CopsWhoLove|
|For more information and City updates, visit sanbruno.ca.gov/social to follow us on social media!|