Petersburg: Mayor's comment sparks call for protest

City Manager William Johnson
City Manager William Johnson

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - There's fallout from a comment made by the mayor of Petersburg. Now, a silent protest is planned.

It's all in relation to what the Mayor Brian Moore said after the arrest of City Manager William Johnson. Johnson is charged with domestic assault -- accused of beating his wife but it's the mayor who's now coming under fire.

"We need to realize things happen in a relationships -- again it's a personal issue. There's always the reconciliation piece. We're all human -- things happen," said Mayor Moore.

That comment was made a few days ago shortly after council decided to allow the city manager to keep his job pending the outcome of his criminal case.

Some residents say the mayor's comments were "insensitive" and "minimized" the seriousness of domestic violence.

"I think there are people, women and men, who've been in domestic violence situation -- I think they'd be hurt by what he said -- like he's dismissing it and that's something he should not have done," said Petersburg resident Dangelette Dokes.

Dokes and her daughter say they were surprised by the mayor's comment. Both plan on attending the protest.

"I'd attend because domestic violence is important and it's a big issue, said Myyah Dokes.

Many folks did not want to talk about the issue on camera but the protest has been a hot topic online.

Norma writes, "Hopefully this will let the authorities know that domestic violence is not an insignificant problem!!!! "

Margie writes, "I hope thousands show up to protest. I'll certainly be there! "

NBC12 reached out to the mayor for comment but was told by that he's out of town.

The city spokesperson says they're aware of the planned protest, are working to see who's organizing it -- and has no additional comment.

The silent protest is scheduled to take place Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. at the Union Train Station on River Street in Petersburg.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.