Dear Mr. Bob Kellar,
I am writing to you again as I did not receive a response from my first letter.
In a June 18 news article, you stated, “We’ve lost our ever-loving minds. It makes me sick what’s going on in this country. It also makes me sick to see that damn policeman’s knee on that guy’s neck.”
It is sick. Racism is sick.
During your L.A. Police Department service years, atrocities like the murder of George Floyd were largely unseen by the public until amateur video captured the Rodney King beating by police officers on a Sony Handycam 8-millimeter video camera in 1992. America has profoundly changed since then…
Today, the unequivocal transparency of technology forces us — more than at any other time in our history — to reckon with the festering hate that has plagued this country since the beginning of our founding. Perhaps you never witnessed the slow — 8 minutes, 46 seconds — horrific murder of a defenseless Black man by a police officer as in the example of George Floyd in all of your 25 years on the police force. Despite how you or I were brought up to believe, our country has a problem with white supremacy and hate crimes on Black people are the most prolific. This hate is embedded and has always been here.
Mr. Kellar, you should have spoken with compassion when addressing the young people sharing their painful experiences. You ignored them and your silence was, in itself, sickening. You had a perfect opportunity to correct your past remarks, to make amends, and you failed. I will give you the benefit of the doubt — that you are just unaware — but you need to resign. You did not stand up for those who needed you to do the right thing and your service is no longer wanted.
Additionally, in reference to the June 23 City Council meeting, the outright refusal by Councilwoman Marsha McLean to discuss the debilitating effects of racism in our own community is unacceptable. Yes, their voices are loud and expressive. Yes, they speak with an urgency and it’s uncomfortable. They are also presenting you with specific ideas for resolution tempered with a complete understanding of their own circumstances. This moment demands a thoughtful response from the city leaders, not a complete shutdown of the discussion over manners.
In closing, though I acknowledge the positive sentiment of Mayor Cameron Smyth and Mayor Pro Tem Bill Miranda who recently declared, “The City of Santa Clarita denounces racism in all its forms…PERIOD,” what I expect is full cooperation by the city of Santa Clarita to engage with the community to implement solutions that will fundamentally improve the quality of life for Black people and people of color, to expand professional support to free up our police department to do the duties it is best suited for and restore good will on all sides.
Lisa M. McDougald