Richmond mayor, police chief, sheriff urge community to come together

Published: Jul. 8, 2016 at 2:38 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2017 at 8:19 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Police Chief Alfred Durham say "the community and police grieve together this morning" after Thursday's shooting in Texas that left five officers dead and seven injured.

In a joint statement, Jones and Alfred also say that "there is simply no excuse and no justification for what we've all seen transpire" with officer-involved shootings this week and in Dallas.

Jones and Alfred's full statement:

We should all be deeply troubled by the shocking events of the last few days, to include the questionable killings of two black men by police officers and the subsequent killings of five police officers in Dallas, Texas.

The community and police grieve together this morning. We offer our condolences to all of the families and communities and to law enforcement professionals that have been impacted by these tragic events.

There is simply no excuse and no justification for what we've all seen transpire. And it is up to all of us to speak up and to come together to make sure events like these do not occur in any community.

Everyone, including police, has a right to feel valued and respected. Community protest in the face of injustice is understandable. But police should not be the target. Rather, we must target bad policing where it exists and work to bring about change in that regard.

We are grateful in Richmond to have strong community and police relations. We can and do care about both Black lives and the lives of our police officers. Indeed, we care about all lives. At the end of the day, everyone has a right to expect to go home safely and no one should be fearing for their lives.

We stand united today to say that we will work against these events generating any kind of divisiveness in our community.  We stand united today to say that we will be vigilant in working together for strong communities.

Durham also emailed his entire staff Friday morning urging them to "remain vigilant, back one another, and remember that every interaction matters."

Here's his full email:

The recent police-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota have once again sparked emotions across the country and thrust policing to the forefront of the national discussion. Last night's devastating attack on officers in Dallas has shocked us all. We mourn the loss of our fellow officers.

These difficult moments are a profound reminder of the critical importance of your efforts and our positive relationship with the community. I thank each and every one of you, both sworn and civilian, for your unwavering professionalism and the outstanding services you provide on a daily basis.

Those are the foundational qualities and character that help to explain to others why Richmond is not mentioned alongside those other jurisdictions. That said, there will undoubtedly be protests and demonstrations here in Richmond. We will respect and protect the protesters' right to peacefully assemble, and we will continue to demonstrate outstanding service and professionalism.

Through our efforts, we will again show the community why the Richmond Police Department is truly the finest police department in the nation. I meet with community members each day who share with me how greatly they appreciate your hard work and dedication.

Please be safe, remain vigilant, back one another, and remember that every interaction matters.

Thank you for your service.

The Richmond Police Department also offered its support of Dallas on social media:

Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody says "we will be stronger and more united on the other side of these struggles. We cannot allow ourselves to become divided, distrustful, or hateful towards one another."

Woody's full statement:

What occurred in Dallas, Texas last night was an act of senseless violence. I send my condolences and heart felt prayers to all those affected by this tragedy, and I encourage and ask for peace and calm from members of every community during this time.

I know that there are many questions surrounding the deaths of two individuals earlier this week in separate incidents with police officers. I grieve with their families, their relatives, and their friends as well. Many have been affected by the events of this week, and it is important that we recognize and are empathetic to those who have questions surrounding the violence we have witnessed. It is imperative that we allow these investigations to lead wherever they may, and that we allow the rule of law to deliver justice to those who are responsible.

We, as a community, will persevere through these struggles, and we will be stronger and more united on the other side of these struggles. We cannot allow ourselves to become divided, distrustful, or hateful towards one another. I am reminded of the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when incidents like this occur: "Returning violence for violence only multiplies violence…Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

I urge everyone, law enforcement and community leaders and members alike, to increase their dialogue with one another, and to not let incidents such as those which have occurred this week dampen or weaken the wonderful relations law enforcement has with the citizens of Richmond. Indeed, we understand the value of every life, and the desire of every person to live that life free of threat or fear. We stand together today, and every day after, to deliver a very simple, yet clear message: We will not bow to hate or violence, but stand tall through love and peace.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12