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Charlottesville city leaders address outrage, join call for justice in murder of George Floyd

CharlottesvilleCharlottesville leaders put out a joint statement late Friday expressing the shock and horror felt locally over the murder of George Floyd, an African-American, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer.

“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,” Brackney said.

The police officer, Derek Chauvin, faces a third-degree murder charge in the death, after video shot by bystanders showed Chauvin kneeling on Foster’s neck for nearly nine minutes, as Foster repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe,” before losing consciousness.

“I continue to be greatly saddened by the untimely and senseless death of Mr. George Floyd,” Charlottesville City Manager Dr. Tarron Richardson said. “It is my sincere hope that justice will prevail, and Derek Chauvin is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Protests in cities across the country have raised outrage over the murder. A local protest has been announced to begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in front of the Charlottesville Police Department headquarters to highlight issues with local police harassment, surveillance and militarization.

“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!” Walker said.

Story by Chris Graham