Raleigh mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, Chief of Police Deck-Brown speak on Saturday night protests
Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown hold a press conference to discuss Saturday night's protests and vandalism.
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What's gonna happen is the mayor's gonna read a brief statement, and then the chief will give you sort of a recount of the events that took place last night on. Then they were both open for questions. Thank you all for being with what's like in 45 seconds. Good morning, everyone. Um, first, I'd like to thank my fellow counselors for being here Mayor Pro TEM Branch Councilor Nicole Stewart, Councilor David Knight and counselor Patrick Rafkin. We stand in solidarity today for our community in the future of our community. As I said last night, what Raleigh experienced was wrong and had very little to do with a call for justice. The city prepared an opportunity for peaceful protesters. We closed the streets in advance. Our police were dressed in regular blue uniforms and not in riot gear. And we push back the curfew to allow plenty of time for protests to occur safely while still allowing our small businesses and restaurants to operate well. There are many who did voice their First Amendment right peacefully, and I'd like to remind people that this is a constitutional right. We do not have the ability, nor would we want to stop people from assembling peacefully and speaking. But there were those mostly white who use this as an excuse to incite violence and cause destruction of our downtown business community. Any message of support for Briana Taylor was usurped by protesters who do not care about peace. They came here with the goal of destruction. Their message from the moment they gathered right across here in Nash Square to the media, was Shut off your cameras because things are going to get bad. That's intent. We were prepared for that. But, man, we were hoping it didn't happen. You know, attacking our small business community does nothing to advance the call for justice and advance positive change. It only hurts those people who depend on those jobs for their lively hoods. For those who aren't paying attention, they're misunderstanding what's actually happening. They will hear the news of broken windows, burn trash cans and graffiti and think that violence is what this movement is all about. The reality, folks is this. There is a true need for equality and safety for people of color. The majority of people who came to our downtown last night did so with a desire to protest in peace. And yet we also know there were others who wanted nothing to do with progress or finding common ground. They were organized, they're intentional and they were focused on one thing destruction. Let me be clear. These violent actors not only want to cause destruction, but they also want to elicit affair. And more importantly, they want to distract from the cry of peace and unity that our community truly needs. We will not let me repeat that. We will not let them win. Yeah. This council is seeking understanding and compassion from our people. We want to come together as a community and work towards solutions that work for everyone. We commend those groups who gathered to peacefully protest yesterday afternoon. They came with a message and they came with respect for one another and all of those in Raleigh. I am urging our community not to judge the peaceful protesters by the actions of those who came to Raleigh last night with agenda of destruction. For those who want peace, we are here. We want to hear you and we want to work with you. Understand? We're tired of the same challenges happening over and over again. Were angry that in 2020 the challenges of racism in an equity still exist. But please know we cannot change overnight hundreds of years of systemic racism for us to make a real difference. It is going to take time and we have to come together with open ears, minds and hearts. E. I have tremendous hope for our community in our future. In the future of our downtown, I spent many years working to build our downtown in our small business community. I am not going to go quietly and let that destruction happen. My hope is that we will grow from this and emerges leaders for change in social justice. We have a report coming out in October from an outside consultant who is going to talk to us about how we can improve policies and actions in our police department. We have formed a police advisory board to help us do that and help us build trust within our community. We have a new police unit called Acorns, who will be made up of social workers and police officers who worked with our homeless community and those with mental health issues. These air some small steps we've taken. Believe me, there will be more coming. I'd now like to hand this over to the Chief and we will be available. Thio answer questions after she speaks Good morning last night at 7 30 PM, Way had a group across the street. Is the mayor referenced a fairly large crowd assembled in Nash Square. By 8 15 the group began to march downtown. That, in and of itself, is not unusual for many of those who come to rally and protest in our city. But shortly thereafter, they began to turn the corner in terms of taking violent steps. By 9 33 the Raleigh Police Department was out there, and shortly thereafter we have begun making arrest at Ueno that we had a curfew at 11 o'clock. I'm pretty much by 11 o'clock, the majority of the crowd had dispersed. 12 people total were arrested with charges arranging from assault on law enforcement officer to public disturbance, unlawful assembly as well as resist the land obstruct. I have no doubt that there will be more arrests coming, A Z. We have to obviously investigate the damage to the various properties that did happen being, uh, graffiti on the buildings or actual damage where there was glass breakage and we did have several locations, um, in and around the the Federal Street Wilmington Street Blunt Street Corridor, Salisbury Street. So we will be conducting those investigations. Ongoing as we have with each of these events and making arrest Where, uh, where we can Are there any questions for either me or the mayor of this time? Yeah. Actually, this mass thing can be difficulty. Um, I hope you all can hear me through this check. We're rescinding the curfew, effective immediately. Um, I was going to make that announcement at the end of the conference, but yes, so thank you. My other question is, what do you know? You were talking about how started peacefully and then other groups opportunity of that. What do we know? Yeah, that are coming in and doing this much about their addresses are located, um, with the additional information in their actual arrest records. So you'll be You can get that from that. You know, it's they're different people each time. Clearly, some of the tagging that we saw last night was indicative that they were anarchist and pretty much declared the symbols symbolism that was out there on DSO. For that reason, we made sure that we we made the arrest accordingly and will continue to do so. There is no tolerance for that type of behavior in our city. But we're seeing that across the country. That's not the new normal and cannot be saying that. Yeah, that. What does that look like? I don't even know what I don't even know how to respond to that. We are making those arrests and we're dealing with those issues as they arise. When you have a crowd of four or 500 people, whatever that number is, we have to be as strategic when we're making those arrests as well to ensure the safety of our officers, but also to ensure the safety of their There were people downtown who were milling about last night because they just wanted to be downtown. And this group decided to take steps to do otherwise. And so that's where we do step in. And we make those arrests where we can at that time. But it doesn't mean that those arrested weren't made that night. Won't happen either, Chief. I'd like address that too. You know, if you listen to social media, we're being criticized for calling a curfew. We're being criticized for not calling a curfew earlier. And, um, the bottom line is, we can't govern by social media. We have to govern by using the tools that we have respecting the rights of our citizens and residents and also honoring our community in our small business. Okay, we always want to show restraint in the face of harm in danger because we do not want to incite people. We do not want to escalate the tension. There's enough tension already. What we do want to dio is what the police did last night and that is allow people to peacefully protest in our community is guaranteed by the Constitution, but then address the issue when that changes. What changed last night went from peaceful protests, Thio unlawful assembly and that's when the rest were made. So you know, if people are encouraging us to violate people's constitutional rights Um, no, we're not doing that, But we're also not going to allow people to vandalize and destruct our community very much