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Attorney General Mark Herring comments on protests, violence

mark herringAttorney General Mark Herring issued the following statement today.

“George Floyd should still be alive, and if he had been white, he almost certainly would be. We know that the criminal justice system treats people differently based on their race—the disparities are documented and undeniable. It takes conscious, deliberate work to fix these problems and tear down the systems that created and perpetuate them, and that is where our focus must be. We need to move quickly to reassure Virginians that black lives matter in Virginia, and must make a long-term commitment to invest in laws, policies, and training that will keep all Virginians safe.

“While peaceful protests and demonstrations can and should continue, as they are important tools of accountability and visibility, I hope we’ve seen the last of the violence and destruction that occurred in Richmond and elsewhere the last few nights. It is dangerous and counterproductive, and it so quickly snatches the focus from where it should be, which is how we will come together to ensure the safety, rights, and equality of all Virginians.

“In my conversations over the last few days I’ve heard over and over again words like ‘tired’ and ‘exhausted.’ The weight of fear that our society places on the shoulders of African Americans is immoral and unsustainable. No one can be truly free if they live in constant fear that they, their children, or their loved ones could be killed if they go out for a walk, or run an errand, or if a traffic stop takes a bad turn. I can never personally know the weight of that fear, but I recognize it, and I will do anything in my power to ease that burden and that fear.”