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Statement From Councilmember Robert White Requesting Local Action Protecting Protestors

As a government, we must demand justice and protect the rights and safety of our residents engaging in constitutional protest. To this end, I ask that Mayor Muriel Bower immediately:

  1. Call off the curfew to allow people to exercise their right to protest.
  2. Pursue justice for the assaults on peaceful protesters by law enforcement, especially those who shot rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.
  3. Oppose military tactics against protesters.

Our residents and our nation are grieving the murders of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Samuel DuBose, Terence Crutcher, Eric Harris, Botham Jean, and hundreds of other Black people in the last decade alone, and countless others in our nation’s history. Mothers are crying in fear for their children. Fathers are suppressing the pain of their own interactions with law enforcement. We all are hungry for change that is decades overdue.

Now is a time of action, not silence or suppression. People are acting, and we must protect our residents’ constitutional rights and all people in our city fighting for racial justice.

The government-sanctioned violence last night against peaceful protesters further damaged trust and incited more anger. We must speak clearly to condemn it. Shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at non-violent protesters, and using military tactics, like low flying helicopters, escalated tensions. These are not the actions we should be taking against people in pain.

The President is intentionally inciting military and civil violence against Black and Brown people and their allies. He is actively suppressing the already diminished rights of people of color. His actions escalate our obligation to protect people and their voices. We have a moral and sworn obligation not to be complicit in the President’s destructive mission. We need the voices of protestors to prevail. Our law enforcement has the ability to protect the free speech of the protestors while also preventing looting that is unrelated to the protest. We must remember that the buildings did not elect us to protect them, but the people did.

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