Northam declares state of emergency, calls on Virginians to unite following unrest in Richmond

Northam declares state of emergency, calls on Virginians to unite following unrest in Richmond
Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in Virginia following violent protests in Richmond. Earlier in the day, he called on Virginians to unite after the unrest. (Source: Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in Virginia following violent protests in Richmond. Earlier in the day, he called on Virginians to unite after the unrest.

“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe," said Governor Northam. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”

A state of emergency allows Virginia to mobilize resources, including the Virginia National Guard, and pre-position people and equipment to assist localities in their efforts to de-escalate violent protests and protect public safety.

Protests erupted in the streets of Richmond for a second night straight over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The declaration allocates $350,000 for state and local governments and state response and recovery operations authorized and coordinated through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

The order also extends Richmond’s curfew between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sunday, May 31 through Wednesday, June 3. While the curfew is in effect, people must remain in their homes and may only leave to seek emergency services or travel to and from home, work, or places of worship.

The full text of the emergency declaration can be found here.

Earlier in the day, Northam released a statement acknowledging the pain many people are feeling.

“I hear you. I know your pain is real. We have all seen too many people harassed, abused and killed by law enforcement officers, in too many places, for too long—just for being black," Governor Northam said in a statement. “I also know that others are exploiting this pain and are now causing violence.”

Attorney General Mark R. Herring also issued a statement in response to the protests:

“George Floyd should still be alive, and if he had been white, he almost certainly would be. We know that the criminal justice system treats people differently based on their race—the disparities are documented and undeniable," Attorney General Herring said. “It takes conscious, deliberate work to fix these problems and tear down the systems that created and perpetuate them, and that is where our focus must be. We need to move quickly to reassure Virginians that black lives matter in Virginia, and must make a long-term commitment to invest in laws, policies, and training that will keep all Virginians safe.”

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