City Manager responds to Saturday night protests in Roanoke

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(PHOTO: Courtesy Roanoke City)

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As protests continue across the region and across the nation, the City Manager for the Roanoke released a statement Saturday night via social media to emphasize the importance of protesting peacefully rather than engaging in unlawful behavior.

Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell issued the following statement on Facebook on Saturday, May 30 as an update on the protests in the city:

“I commend those that peacefully gathered today to exercise their right to assemble and vocalize their understandable anger with the events that occurred in Minneapolis. I also thank the Roanoke Police Department – VA for their work to ensure the safety of those assembled.

I join Mayor Lea and Chief Roman in stating that unlawful activities such as those that occurred in seperate events earlier this evening in the Valley View area will not be tolerated.

The City will continue to support those that peacefully exercise their rights and will do what is necessary to protect lives and property from those that choose to engage in unlawful activities.”

Bob Cowell, City Manager for the City of Roanoke

Prior to Saturday’s protests, Roanoke City Mayor Sherman Lea posted a statement of his own on Friday, May 29 in reference to recent events, including George Floyd’s death:

Within recent weeks we have witnessed events across our country that have caused anger, division, unrest, and unparalled sadness for many families and entire communities. Growing up as a teenager in the 60s I had a chance to witness and experience the cruelty of racism first hand. Today I’m feeling some of those same trepidations that I felt then and enough is enough! We must continue to expose and eradicate racism in our society and within our criminal justice system.

Therefore, as we move through one of the most challenging times in our country’s recent history beginning with COIVD19 that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 Americans, it is imperative, more now than ever, that we continue to build bridges across all lines that divide us, extend compassion, kindness, forgiveness and grace to ensure that we always move forward and never allow history to repeat itself. As individuals, may we always search for our imperfections and rely on our faith to continue to help us to evolve into the best version of ourselves.

Continued prayers for peace and healing in our community and nation.

Sherman Lea, Mayor of the City of Roanoke

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