‘This is not the city I know’: Richmond Mayor, other leaders speak out on protest

Updated: May. 31, 2020 at 7:31 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Leaders across Richmond are reacting to the damage left behind from protest Friday night.

Many say they feel the frustrations but condemn the violence and destruction.

“What I saw in those images is not the city I know,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said.

Stoney says he’s still processing what happened in his city streets.

“It hurts because I recognize it could be my brother, it could be me or my uncles,” Stoney said.

Stoney says he understands the frustrations but doesn’t believe two wrongs make a right.

“The injustice that occurred to George Floyd and others was wrong. The destruction of property and damage to property was wrong as well,” Stoney said.

“We have to find a better way to move forward,” Councilwoman Kim Gray said.

Gray was on the verge of tears as she comes to grips with what she experienced.

“To have my elderly black neighbors crying and terrified last night is not a solution,” Gray said.

A GRTC bus was burned and windows were smashed out as the once peaceful protest took a turn.

“The bus driver was forced off the bus and there was an attempt to topple the bus at one point and it almost turned over,” Gray said.

Councilwoman Gray says the residents are now left with the damage.

“They were walking back trying to find where they parked and they drove away while we are left to clean up the mess,” Gray said.

“I believe Richmond is at the epicenter of it and it begins on if we can discuss race relations,” Councilman Michael Jones said.

Jones also came out Saturday morning to get a look.

“I would love to be able to sweep this under the rug but that’s not going to happen because the issue is this: Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. The issue is real,” Jones said.

As many try to put the pieces of a broken city back together-the question is: what’s next?

“If you want to come to downtown Richmond or anywhere else in the city and cause mischief then the city of Richmond police department will respond,” Stoney said.

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