Springfield city leaders speak out after weekend protests
Springfield city officials spoke out Monday about the death of George Floyd, the Minnesota man who died after being arrested by Minneapolis police.
Springfield City Council adopted a resolution that states the city of Springfield will not tolerate acts of violence like the one in Minneapolis. This comes after a weekend full of marches, while protesters wanted to hear what their elected officials had to say.
Over the weekend, Larry Flenoid II encouraged fellow protesters to speak up for what they believe in, but he wanted to hear more voices.
"Our mayor's not out here sticking up for us. None of our city councilmen are, and we have a black man on city council," he said. "Where is he at right now?"
A day later, Springfield took a stand.
"What happened in Minnesota was just wrong," said Springfield City Manager Jason Gage.
Gage introduced a resolution that city council approved, stating Springfield will not tolerate violence that disrespects or disregards human life.
"We feel the same shock, we feel the same concern, surprise, frustration and anger," Gage said. "I think it's important that they understand that we share those feelings."
To read the full resolution, click
As far as why city leaders did not participate in the protests, Gage said that's not typical for officials.
"There's a time to talk and there's a time to listen and right now, we need to listen," he said.
The Springfield Police Department monitored the weekend's peaceful protests.
"Except for a few that weren't part of the protest creating problems, everybody complied which allowed us to be very calm and restrained in what we were doing," said Chief Paul Williams.
Williams said the actions of the Minneapolis police officers could affect his department's relationship with the community, but he said that type of behavior would not happen under his watch.
"The feedback I get from citizens here is, we are doing it right. So we'll keep doing it right," Williams said.
Williams and Gage said it'll take more than just proper policing to make change and they want to hear every voice in their community.
"We need to utilize this situation, which is a horrible, horrific situation and try to find out how we can move our community forward in a very, very positive way," Gage said.
More protests are planned for at least the next two weekends. City leaders said they support peaceful protests, but demonstrations should happen on the square downtown, where you do not need a permit for a public gathering.
The Springfield Police Department blocked off one of the city's major intersections for marches over the weekend. Chief Williams said that will not be allowed to happen again.
To read more about the city's request for lawful protests, click
Chief Williams released a statement before the weekend protests. He said he has never commented on another police agency, and hopes he never has to do so again.
"I sensed the community wanted to hear from me but I wanted to express to the community how I was feeling, how our department was feeling and how we respond to things here and to assure people, that type of behavior would not be tolerated, and would not happen here," he said.
For the chief's entire statement, click