DANVILLE, Va. – While the water flowing through the JTI fountain in downtown Danville was, at times, louder than the voices of the protesters there Tuesday afternoon, the protesters certainly made an effort to make their voices heard.
“Man, I’m so happy with the Danville community right now,” said Danville Police Chief Scott Booth.
Booth did not hesitate Tuesday to thank elected officials, community leaders and protesters for coming together to make the protests peaceful.
“I saw (at Monday’s protest) young men and women that were hurt and wanted to express their hurt. You know what? They were open and they were doing it peacefully. I am very impressed with this community, I can tell you that," said Booth.
A picture from Monday shows Booth giving a protester a hug. An emotional moment, Booth said, that just happened.
“We’re going to protect your constitutional right to get out there and be heard. I understand there’s a level of pain that you are dealing with right now that I can’t even fathom, but we are here for you, and you will absolutely be treated with dignity and respect," Booth said.
Protester Ashley Jones is glad to see her city’s police department standing with the protesters.
“Black lives matter and we all need to make a stand," said Jones.
She hopes other police departments and other communities will now learn from Danville.
“I just hope that this actually makes a change and reaches out to people that are refusing to stand out," Jones said.