Thirty-one police officers in the western North Carolina city of Asheville have resigned from the force since June.
Police Chief David Zack told The Citizen Times on Thursday that the number is "unprecedented.”
The resignations amount to loss of more than one sworn officer for every 10 in the force of 283 – or 13% of the force. The numbers do not take into account retirements.
Zack attributed the departures to a lack of support and a “very vocal” opposition to law enforcement following the death of George Floyd; an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis who died after a police officer jammed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.
But proponents of a local movement to defund police say department should consider what's behind their outrage.
“It’s perplexing how a narrative of victimization has been stripped from the true victims, their families and the community that has suffered centuries from deadly state violence,” said Ria Young, a Black resident of the city.
The death of Floyd in Minneapolis sparked protests across the country and in Asheville. Demonstrations in the city saw 12 police officers and at least one protester get injured.