Speaking a few moments ago (see video, below), Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said the following:
“…we come to you with a heavy heart. We are all disappointed and we feel the pain that is being felt throughout this country for the last few nights. But we know as we stand here that the violence and the destruction and the images we’ve seen across this city is not the Richmond we know…We saw local businesses, some black-owned businesses, that have served Richmond for decades, vandalized and looted. We’ve seen people’s homes on fire. Bricks have flown through the windows of synagogues. We’ve seen buildings vandalized throught the city…Ladies and gentlemen, I think it’s time to say that enough is enough, and this must stop, this must end. We cannot sit here idly and agree and tell everyone here that these actions are productive, because they’re not. When you block law enforcement from allowing fire services to get to a home…that’s caught on fire, you are not inspiring change. When you knock out windows in businesses that had nothing to do with this, you are not inspiring change. That’s an insult to the cause…We all know what happened in Minneapolis. Those actions are an insult to the cause. It’s an insult to black men, black women who suffer every day…at the hands of structural racism in this nation.
At this point, these bad actors are hijacking the cause…peaceful protests in solidarity against the injustices…hijacked by bad actors. As soon as you loot a store or set a public bus on fire, you’ve…stopped protesting. You’re not demonstrating, you’ve made it about you, when it should be about us. Taking advantage of our pain, making a mockery of George Floyd’s death, using our frustration, our anger and our heartbreak to create chaos….Bottom line, it’s wrong. It’s wrong…let me be frank. People coming into our city and vandalizing…that’s not progress for black America, that’s not progress for this city. So don’t kid yourself…that’s not progress, that’s not protest, that’s not the justice we seek for George Floyd…
…This is not us…This is the antithesis to the solutions that we seek. So after two nights of violence and destruction, we’re taking steps to continue to promote peaceful, lawful and safe demonstrations and protected both people and primary…I’ve been in conversations since…early this morning…with Gov. Northam and I’ve requested the assistance of the National Guard to be available, if needed, and the governor has indicated they are ready to step in if Richmond needs that support and assistance. I’ve also asked the governor to declare a curfew in the city of Richmond...starting tonight…at 8 pm…and he has granted that request…from 8 pm to 6 am…and it will be enforced…Law enforcement, medical workers…will obviously be exempted from the order…And let’s not forget that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic…and that is taking a disproportionate toll on the black and brown communities that reside right here in the City of Richmond…Public safety and public health will be this city’s main and #1 priority…”
Police Chief Will Smith: Expresses anger over death of George Floyd. Says we need to make sure that the Richmond police department reflects the community it serves, respect everyone, show high professionalism. Many of the people injured have been by “protestor on protestor violence.” Protests have started off peacefully, but “actors…have taken over the protests” and “changed the tone.” “When you take a legitimate issue and hijack it…that is unacceptable…It truly is not Richmond…it’s not even Virginia…We have intelligence…we have people from across the country who have traveled many states to be here. We know that this is an organized effort; we’re committed to trying to identify those who are behind it…and doing our very level best to arrest those that are perpetrating the violence on our community, on our city and our citizens.”