Moore County municipalities released statements regarding the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck while detaining him in Minnesota, sparking protests throughout the country. Four police officers have been charged with his death.
The Town of Aberdeen’s press release for protestors in their community was titled an “Equality Statement” and promised respect, support, and protection for peaceful protestors.
The Village of Pinehurst released a similar statement.
“The Village of Pinehurst is committed to standing for justice and equality for all residents and for our fellow citizens across the United States.”
Councilwoman Bridget Cotton of Taylortown released a statement quoting Martin Luther King that riots occur when people are unheard. Cotton also said that “…blacks continue to be targeted by an unfair justice system.”
Sheriff Ronnie Fields released a statement on assisting in Floyd’s funeral Saturday in Hoke County.
“As your Sheriff, it remains my honor to serve you all. The events that have occurred across our country over the last two weeks concern me greatly. And sicken me! The actions of the rogue police officers on the scene in Minnesota were unnecessary, unwarranted, and criminal. I pray that justice will be served, and the Floyd family will find peace. They are in my prayers,” Fields said.
Fields also requested that any criminal element or ill intent be reported at 910-947-2931.
The Town of Vass released a statement as well.
“Despite the good work of so many officers every day, the acts of violence and racism by the four officers involved in Mr. Floyds death have harmed many innocent people and deeply erode the trust in our police forces,” said Vass Mayor Eddie Callahan and its Board of Commissioners.
Moore County saw a number of peaceful protests this week.
NC Impact Coalition held a peaceful caravan protest Thursday, and Aberdeen, Pinehurst, and Southern Pines Police Departments participated in its success by escorting the mobile demonstration. A record-breaking 379 vehicles rode in the Black Lives Matter Caravan. Pinehurst officers were seen “taking a knee”, and Southern Pines Chief of Police Robert Temme assisted with traffic.
Sunday, Walmarts across the region closed due to threats of protests and possible looting. Walmart in Aberdeen was no different as they closed its doors early. The Walmart in Fayetteville had seen extensive vandalism on Saturday, along with Cross Creek Mall and other locations.
Aberdeen Police Chief Carl Colasacco said they had reason to believe protestors might show up at the Aberdeen Walmart, and it was closing out of an abundance of caution.
Law enforcement set up a perimeter of officers, patrol cars, and a fire trucks. Protesters arrived at Walmart carrying signs and could be seen peacefully marching along Turner Street and later moving into the parking lot.
At one point, several of the protestors could be seen speaking peacefully with police officers in the parking lot.
A memorial service for George Floyd is being held in Raeford on Saturday. Floyd was born in Fayetteville but grew up in Houston.
Feature photo: Peaceful protesters holding signs at Aberdeen Walmart.
Article by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.