Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson on June 2 made a video address on the national demonstrations in light of the ongoing effort to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Johnson spoke of the city’s stance on sensitivity and inclusivity, and thanked citizens for taking a peaceful approach to having their voices heard.
Johnson’s comments in their entirety are below.
“Good afternoon, Fayetteville.
I am Mayor Ed Johnson, and I am speaking to you on behalf of the elected officials and the city staff to address the recent events that have impacted our nation as a result of the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
I am sure that most will agree that this is a troubling time in our nation, especially since it comes at the time that we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have in recent days been following the protests springing up in response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer.
Many of us have seen the video footage of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, and we are both saddened and angered by what we have seen.
In response, many people have taken to the streets of major cities to express their opposition to racism, injustice, and their desire to see fair treatment of all people.
Here in the City of Fayetteville, we support the Constitutional right to free speech.
Having our voices heard, especially in times like these, is an American right.
What we as the city leadership want the citizens and guests of Fayetteville, Georgia to know is that we share your thoughts of anger and sadness when we see this sort of injustice, whether motivated by racism, poor police training, personal biases or hatred, or whatever else, and it will not be tolerated here.
Our City of Fayetteville Public Safety personnel are proactive in reaching out to the entire community in order to bridge any gaps and to ensure public confidence in our mission to protect and to serve everyone.
Our police department diligently recruits, trains, and leads our officers to mitigate and prevent the sorts of issues we have seen arise in other cities.
Although no agency is immune from inappropriate behavior by individual personnel, we shall remain vigilant and weed out those who do not fit the culture of our public safety community.
We are here to serve everyone and to maintain our reputation of being a safe and inclusive community.
Again, the ability to speak out and protest against injustice and inequality is a Constitutional right of all Americans.
Unfortunately, we are learning that some of these protests around the country, including some that began peacefully, turned into displays of violence and destruction.
Again, we are both saddened, appalled, and outraged by what we are seeing, both in the tragic deaths, and the aftermath of what should be peaceful rallies and protests.
Complicating the matter is the fact that we are still fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here in Georgia, we remain under Governor Brian Kemp’s statewide executive order to restrict gatherings to 25 people or less, and most concerning in these gatherings is people failing to exercise social distancing of six feet or more and wearing protective masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Here in Fayetteville, we will continue to enforce this executive order.
I would also like to remind the community that a permit is required for public gatherings in the City of Fayetteville, and those may be obtained through the Fayetteville Police Department.
In closing, I want to thank the citizens of Fayetteville for taking a peaceful approach to having your voices heard.
As a healthy, unified community, there is opportunity for everyone to have their say and exercise their constitutional rights, but do so in a manner that does not violate any laws or put any other citizen’s safety at risk, or do any damage to private or public property.
At the end of the day, it is imperative for us to remember we are all in this together to make Fayetteville a diverse and progressive city that we all can be proud of.
Please continue to keep other cities, both local and nationally, in your thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time in our nation’s history.
Remember, the Bible says, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand,’ so united we stand, and divided we shall fall.
I am hoping that Fayetteville will be the role model for positive diversity, mutual respect, and personal dignity for all of our citizens.
May God bless you, may God bless America, and may God bless the City of Fayetteville, Georgia. Thank you and good evening.”