WESTPORT — The town’s police chief and First Selectman emphasized the importance of trust in a community as protests continued across the nation Saturday.

The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while he was handcuffed, face down and saying he could not breathe.

Protests have popped up from coast to coast since Floyd died Monday, reaching Connecticut on Friday with a protest at the capitol. By Saturday, there were protests in Hartford, Bridgeport and Stratford.

In a joint statement Saturday, Chief Foti Koskinas and First Selectman Jim Marpe said they were “horrified and deeply disappointed by the recent tragedy in Minneapolis.”

“The Westport Police Department, like so many others across our country, has worked diligently to build relationships and trust within our communities; a trust which we and our national partners in law enforcement recognize must be incrementally earned and always carefully maintained,” Koskinas said. “Fostering this trust among our community through a steadfast dedication to public service continues to be our top priority.”

Marpe emphasized that the town’s commitment to fairness, equality and social justice “is stronger than ever.”