CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville Police Department and city leaders are sharing in the nation’s outrage over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Floyd died during an arrest where an officer kneeled on his neck. He is just the latest black man to die during interactions with law enforcement around the country.
In a statement, Police Chief Rashall Brackney said in part, “...the Charlottesville community must come together to continue their fight for justice.”
Mayor Nikuyah Walker sent a message to the black community as part of her statement, saying " I will continue to fight for us and demand that white America stop murdering, stealing, and restricting our breaths."
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also issued a statement. He made a commitment to addressing how far our country is from genuine equity and fair treatment. His statement reads in part, “People are crying out for justice and healing. But those aren’t feelings-they’re actions, and we have a lot of work to do in this country and in our Commonwealth.”
All full statements are available below.
Charlottesville Police Statement Regarding Death of George Floyd May 29, 2020
The Charlottesville Police Department sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. George Floyd, whose tragic death has shocked and horrified our department, the Charlottesville community, and the entire nation.
CPD shares in our nation’s outrage and disappointment regarding the actions of the officer who forced his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, as he repeatedly said “I can’t breathe,” and begged for mercy while three other officers watched and did nothing.
“I am completely outraged by Mr. Floyd’s death, and the collective deafening silence of leaders across the nation,” said Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney. “Once again, the black community must bear witness to another senseless murder of an unarmed black man, as officers cavalierly defy Mr. Floyd’s and bystanders’ pleas for mercy.”
“This death and so many others create a bloodstain on the badge of those officers who take an oath to keep their communities safe, do no harm, and defend the defenseless,” added Brackney.
While we have seen expressions of anger, rage, pain, and frustration in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death, the Charlottesville community must come together to continue their fight for justice and fair judicial outcomes for every community across the United States.
"I continue to be greatly saddened by the untimely and senseless death of Mr. George Floyd," said Charlottesville City Manager Dr. Tarron Richardson. "It is my sincere hope that justice will prevail and Derek Chauvin is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
“CPD remains committed to a 21st Century Policing Model, and strengthening partnerships with our community,” added Brackney. “Moreover, according to the pillars established under 21st Century Policing, police leaders across the nation must admit and own failures--to stop the deadly virus of racism and death, contagions for which the United States has had no cure.”
Mayor Nikuyah Walker reiterated Chief Brackney’s sentiments.
"There is nothing just about the devaluation America has place on Black Lives and the constant danger it puts us in," said Mayor Nikuyah Walker. "To my Black people: I see you, I grieve with you, I breathe fear with you., and I will continue to fight for us and demand that white America stop murdering, stealing, and restricting our breaths."
“In this moment, I breathe with you in honor of all those who have had their breath stolen. I will protect your breath from my little corner of the world and continue to implore others to do the same. Breathe!,” added Walker.
Statement from Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker, May 29, 2020
The lynching of George Floyd follows an infinite history of white brutality against Black Lives. From the time that bodies were stolen from the coasts of Africa to present day, white people have failed to see us as human.
We have been labeled something other than human for so long that the ability to breathe is constantly decided by white officers to not be a physiological human right for Black people.
I saw Tamir Rice shot to the ground in a second because officers decided he was undeserving of breath. In the past month, we’ve also witnessed Breonna Taylor’s breath stolen from her by an officer blindly shooting into her home as she breathed in her sleep. We’ve watched as Ahmaud Arbery’s breath was stolen while exercising his right to breathe, taking months of activism to breathe life into demands for justice, until we ultimately learned of his story.
And we watched as George Floyd’s breath was stolen after violently being smashed into a piece of earth with a police officer’s knee in his neck while slowly being raped of his breath.
The saddest image over the past month has been that of Tye Anderson’s 90-year-old grandmother falling over him or being pushed onto him in an effort to protect his breath. If you look, you will find the names of other people who have had their breath snatched from them under the guise of justice.
As the Mayor of the City of Charlottesville, I denounce this evil brutality. There is nothing just about the murder of innocent people. There is nothing just about the “shoot first, think later” mentality that is so pervasive in police departments across this country.
There is nothing just about the devaluation America has placed on Black Lives and the constant danger it puts us in. To my Black people: I see you. I grieve with you. I breathe fear with you. And I will continue to fight for us and demand that white America stop murdering, stealing, and restricting our breaths.
In this moment, I breathe with you in honor of all those who have had their breath stolen. I will protect your breath from my little corner of the world and continue to implore others to do the same. Breathe!
Mayor, City of Charlottesville
Governor Northam Statement on Recent Deaths of George Floyd, Breyonna Taylor,and Ahmaud Arbery
RICHMOND— Governor Ralph Northam today issued the following statement on the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breyonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
“This has been such a sad and emotional week, with too many violent and blatant reminders of how far our country is from genuine equity and fair treatment.“
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others have been wrongfully killed, simply for being black. People all over our country are hurting and angry, and rightly so.
“The fear that is so common in the hearts and lives of many is real—will someone I love be next?“
No one should have to carry that type of burden but for the African American community and communities of color, this is a reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the weight of this struggle, highlighting long standing systemic inequities in America.“
What we see with our own eyes in Minneapolis, calls all of us to renew our commitment to working for justice—advancing cultural affirmation and respect, access to good health, education, fair housing, business opportunities, voting, and criminal justice reform. This is our shared responsibility—this is a humanity issue.“
People are crying out for justice and healing. But those aren’t feelings—they’re actions, and we have a lot of work to do in this country and in our Commonwealth. As Governor of Virginia, I make the commitment to ensure that we continue to address these issues head on, even when it is uncomfortable and difficult because I believe our diversity is our greatest strength.”