The Douglas County public library in Minden, Nevada released a proposed diversity statement last week detailing how “everyone is welcome” at the library.
The organisation added that it “denounces all acts of violence, racism, and disregard for human rights” and supports Black Lives Matter.
“We resolutely assert and believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality, and injustice don’t belong in our society,” they wrote.
In response, the County’s County sheriff, Daniel Coverley, told the library that it should not expect to receive help from the department in cases of emergency, denouncing its support of the movement.
“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,” Sheriff Coverley wrote on Monday on the sheriff’s office website.
“I wish you good luck with disturbances and lewd behaviour.”
In a joint follow up statement following the letter, Sheriff Coverley and the library said the response was submitted as a “written letter for public comment in opposition of the statement”.
“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,” the sheriff said.
“My response was rooted in my belief that these issues need to be openly discussed in a way that values diversity and law enforcement.”
Library Director Amy Dodson told The Gazette that the diversity statement was not meant to be an anti-police statement but intended to welcome individuals of all backgrounds.
“It simply was meant to state our inclusivity at the library, that we are open and welcoming to everyone and we treat everyone equally,” Ms Dodson said.
In the second statement, Ms Dodson said that she and the sheriff had a “candid conversation” regarding the open letter and determined that “this may have been an unfortunate circumstance of misunderstanding”.
The library actively cancelled the board meeting where the statement was scheduled to be up for discussion, they said, noting that the discussion will be rescheduled. A date has not been confirmed.