Skip to main content


Statement from Montgomery County Executive Elrich and the Montgomery County Council Supporting Freedom of Assembly and Public Safety

For Immediate Release: Monday 1 June

As the elected leaders of Montgomery County, we understand and empathize with the hurt, anger, and fear expressed by community members who are protesting at home and in our streets about the decades of institutional and structural racism throughout the United States once again made evident by the murder of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis. The demand for equity, justice, and respect sweeping our nation must also be understood in the context of the lack of national leadership to unite America. This void exacerbates the despair felt by black and brown residents who are the direct victims of the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturns and institutional racism.

We fully support the constitutional rights of our residents to express their views peacefully without fear of bodily harm or aggressive suppression tactics from law enforcement. County leaders and the Montgomery County Police Department will continue to respect, listen to, and work with individuals expressing their opinions though peaceful assembly across our community; and the County will continue to provide a protected environment for memorials, rallies, and nonviolent protests.   

Montgomery County police have a sworn duty to protect the public and create a safe atmosphere for the expression of First Amendment rights. Based on the activities we witnessed yesterday and today in Germantown, Gaithersburg, and Silver Spring from both our community members and police, we are hopeful that these gatherings will continue to be an opportunity for peaceful expression and community dialogue, with the ultimate goal of making everyone in our community feel safe and respected.

Our County has grappled with the deaths of Robert White and Finan Berhe, and we know that these losses have devastated the families of these men and our community. These protests are important so that the community can express their sense of loss and concerns as well as advocate for change.

Throughout the last year, Montgomery County leaders and community members have committed to act together on issues that confront our residents from a racial equity and social justice lens. We have enacted the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act, created a Policing Advisory Commission, and enacted the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency Act to provide independence and accountability in police-involved death investigations. We also understand that there is so much more collective work to do.  

We are committed to ongoing engagement and collaboration with all our community members to continue the difficult conversations about the state of race relations in our country and here at home in Montgomery County. Working toward a deeper understanding of these issues and taking proactive steps to break down institutional discrimination will help create the opportunity for a more fair and just community for all. 

# # #

Release ID: 20-014