• The Douglas County Public Library in Nevada offered its support for Black Lives Matter in a press release, decrying all acts of hatred and racism in modern society
  • Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley responded to the library's stance, saying his office would no longer respond to 911 calls from the library
  • Both sides have since made amends, with the library saying it was a misunderstanding and it still supported of the sheriff's office and does not support defunding police

A Nevada sheriff warned a local library his office would not respond to 911 calls after the library announced its support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Both sides have since clarified their statements and made amends, but the tiff reflects the sharp divide supporting Black Lives Matter can cause at the local level.

“The Douglas County Public Library denounces all acts of violence, racism and disregard for human rights,” the Douglas County Public Library said in a July 22 press release. “We support #BlackLivesMatter. We resolutely assert and believe all forms of racism, hatred, inequality and injustice don’t belong in our society.”

The library’s statement was met with a sharp response from Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley, who wished the library luck handling visitors causing “disturbances” and acting “lewd.” He initially said his office would no longer respond to 911 calls from the library, saying the statement reflects a “lack of support or trust” in the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office is the only police department within an hour of the library.

“Numerous Black Lives Matter protests have resulted in violence, property damage and the closing of local businesses, sometimes permanently,” Coverley said in a July 27 letter posted on the office’s website. “To support this movement is to support violence and to openly ask for it to happen in Douglas County.”

Amy Dodson, the library’s director, said on Tuesday she reached out to Coverley to clarify the library still supported the sheriff’s office. She said the statement was meant to reflect the library’s inclusivity to the community.

“I want the sheriff’s office to know we do love and support our law enforcement here,” Dodson told the Reno Gazette Journal. “We would never want to support a movement to defund the police, so to speak. I think a lot of this has been a big misunderstanding.”

Coverley thanked the library shortly afterward for its clarification and for apologizing.

“I am passionate about and proud of the work the Sheriff’s Office does for all members of this community,” Coverley said in a press release. “This has been a difficult time to be a law enforcement professional and can be disheartening when we perceive that our office may be under attack.”

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