A Nevada public library’s show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement prompted the county’s sheriff to threaten its staff with nonresponse to emergency calls. 

Ahead of a July 28 board of trustees meeting, the Douglas County Public Library prepared a statement on diversity, something many public institutions and companies have been doing in the wake of uprisings over the killing of George Floyd.

"We support #BlackLivesMatter," the statement read. "We resolutely assert and believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality and injustice don't belong in our society."

The statement shows support for people of all backgrounds.

“We offer free and equal access to information, services and programs for everyone regardless of race, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political persuasion, disability, status, national origin or income level. Public libraries change lives and create opportunities for all those who inquire,” it states.

After the remarks were shared, Douglas County Sheriff Daniel Coverley wrote a letter addressed to the library board condemning its comments and rejecting claims of systemic racism and bias in law enforcement.

He stated that in 2019 a majority of the 1,004 fatal shootings of civilians by officers were justifiable, as “most involved an armed or dangerous subject.”

In the letter, which was posted on Monday to the sheriff’s office website, Coverley also discussed the danger officers face in the line of duty, adding that because of recent national unrest, a number of officers have been injured while “defending their communities from the violence that has swept our country.”

Most of the language in Coverley’s letter was taken from a letter written to Congress by state attorney generals and sheriffs’ associations, reports the Reno Gazette Journal.

“The Douglas County Sheriffs Office is the only local law-enforcement agency in Douglas County and it is the men and women of DCSO that keep you safe. The Black Lives Matter movement openly calls all law enforcement corrupt and racist on their website,” the letter states. “To support this movement is to support violence and to openly ask for it to happen in Douglas County.”

Coverley ended the letter by telling the library staff to not call 911 when they need help, implying the department would not respond.

“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. I wish you good luck with disturbances and lewd behavior, since those are just some of the recent calls my office has assisted you with in the past,” he wrote.

Coverley met with Library Director Amy Dodson on Tuesday, reports The Hill. Dodson said the two had a “candid conversation” and the incident was a misunderstanding.

“The library respects and supports the work of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and appreciates everything they do to keep our community safe,” she said in a statement posted to the county's Facebook page.

Dodson said the library's statement was intended to show support for all community members and welcome people of all backgrounds to the library, not to denounce the police department.

"I want the sheriff’s office to know we do love and support our law enforcement here. 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,” she said.

Coverley said he felt like his police force was under attack.

“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,” he 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.”

The board meeting where the diversity statement would have been discussed has been canceled and will be rescheduled, according to the county statement.

County spokesperson Melissa Blosser said the meeting was canceled "due to overwhelming amount of community response."

The library posted the diversity statement on its Facebook page ahead of the meeting, but it has since been taken down following a request from county officials who said it violated county policy.

"We had them take it down. We cannot use public owned media to propagate a political agenda,” Blosser said.

Despite Coverley’s threat, the sheriff's department will still respond to calls made by the library, according to Blosser.

"Sheriff Coverley would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will continue to respond to all 911 calls, including those at the Library," Blosser said.

In response to Coverley’s statement, Black Lives Matter of Carson City is planning a protest for August 8 in Douglas County.

“The sheriff released a statement demonizing our movement and stating that his sheriff’s department will not answer to certain calls that support the defunding of police and BLM movements,” a Facebook post by the group read. “That is corruption and bad policing at its finest!!”

Engageante Jackson, an organizer who grew up in Douglas County, said she was shocked by the sheriff’s remarks.

"Why are you wasting our taxpaying dollars if you're not going to uphold the Constitution that you swore to serve and protect?" Jackson told News 4.