Richmond leaders speak out on George Floyd’s death; peaceful events planned for weekend

Updated: May. 29, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Many protest are planned all across the nation, including here in Richmond, in response to what’s happening in Minnesota.

Protests and outrage have ignited across the country as many demand action in the death of George Floyd, who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter

“This is the time individuals must make a stance,” Richmond City Councilman Michael Jones said.

Jones says the videos have been hard to watch.

“Someone should have intervened and said that was enough. The person is in handcuffs,” Jones said.

Several protests are set for this weekend including a peaceful protest expected at Brown’s Island starting at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

The Richmond Chapter of the NAACP also has a ‘Call to Action’ set for Sunday at 1 p.m. This is not open to the public but organizers hope to show solidarity. Several leaders are expected to speak including Mayor Levar Stoney, Police Chief William Smith, Delegate Deloris McQuinn and other religious leaders.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney released a statement in response to the incident.

“The murder of George Floyd pains me deeply. It’s a pain long felt by people who look like me, a pain ingrained in the bones of Black Americans.

“My heart breaks for the Floyd family and the Minneapolis community, but this is bigger than one city. This is a burden we all bear.

“Yes, we must interrogate and condemn the America that treats Black lives as expendable, whether at the hands of the police or the coronavirus. But it’s not enough to believe this is all about changing hearts and minds.

“America was built on the backs of slaves, and our city is still plagued by the inequities that rose from this shameful foundation. Healing this country will require systems-level change to abolish the injustices that continue to oppress and pin down Black Americans until they can’t breathe.

“It is the responsibility of us all – no matter our race or station – to question and transform institutions predicated on racism, and to do so with love in our hearts and the names of our lost brothers and sisters on our lips.”

Richmond Police Chief William Smith says he is sickened and outraged by the officers’ actions.

Here are words from Police Chief William C. Smith regarding the death of George Floyd.

Posted by Richmond Police Department on Friday, May 29, 2020

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police also condemned the former officers and offered condolences to the Floyd family.

“My question is this - what do we want in America because this could happen in any city,” Jones said.

Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement:

This has been such a sad and emotional week, with too many violent and blatant reminders of how far our country is from...

Posted by Governor of Virginia on Friday, May 29, 2020

Chesterfield County and Henrico County police chiefs also commented as well.

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