Politicians in Virginia are reacting after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. As of Sunday morning, one police officer has been charged in his death but many people across the country are calling for more arrests.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine tweeted the following Saturday afternoon:
“African Americans have heard equality preached as our national virtue while living under 400 years of slavery, discrimination, and injustice. The murder of George Floyd and the disproportionate deaths to COVID are just the latest evidence. America must listen, atone, and act.”
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued the following statement Sunday morning:
“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. 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.
“While peaceful protests and demonstrations can and should continue, as they are important tools of accountability and visibility, I hope we’ve seen the last of the violence and destruction that occurred in Richmond and elsewhere the last few nights. It is dangerous and counterproductive, and it so quickly snatches the focus from where it should be, which is how we will come together to ensure the safety, rights, and equality of all Virginians.
“In my conversations over the last few days I’ve heard over and over again words like ‘tired’ and ‘exhausted.’ The weight of fear that our society places on the shoulders of African Americans is immoral and unsustainable. No one can be truly free if they live in constant fear that they, their children, or their loved ones could be killed if they go out for a walk, or run an errand, or if a traffic stop takes a bad turn. I can never personally know the weight of that fear, but I recognize it, and I will do anything in my power to ease that burden and that fear.”
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued the following statement Sunday morning about protests in the City of Richmond:
“I acknowledge each of the voices crying out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth. I affirm the deep concerns from the black community.
“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. I also know that others are exploiting this pain and are now causing violence.
“I spoke with Mayor Levar Stoney throughout the night; pursuant to the Mayor’s requests, I have authorized a curfew in Richmond and placed the Virginia National Guard on alert. They stand ready to assist in protecting our residents, businesses, especially small and black-owned businesses, and the capital city.
“As Governor of Virginia, I call on all Virginians to join together and build a renewed commitment to working for justice and fair treatment.”
Virginia Senator Mark Warner tweeted the following Thursday:
“In a just America, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor would still be alive today. We need to pursue not only accountability for their killers, but true justice where our system treats the lives of black Americans with full and equal dignity.”