Mayor Battle statement on two Wednesday protest events
Published on June 4, 2020
“Yesterday, our city saw two separate protest events. The first was organized by the local chapter of the NAACP who worked with the City and Huntsville Police to organize a thoughtful event filled with hope and a call for justice. We gathered to mourn the tragedy that occurred in Minneapolis. We came together in supporting a First Amendment right to voice a call for change throughout our country. I saw families and small children. Students and seniors. Black and white. Our community has a shared mission – more must be done.
“What occurred after the NAACP event was disheartening. A second event occurred, structured by people who were not part of our community. They gathered at the courthouse to block the square and protest. This was not part of a permitted event, and there were no local organizers in charge, which becomes a public safety issue. Even so, police allowed the protestors time to express themselves before asking everyone to leave. Most complied, but others did not. Police were clear in their instructions and worked with the remaining protestors for more than an hour before using non-lethal irritants. The protesters had every opportunity to peacefully leave and they chose otherwise. The leadership of this second group is not our community.
“It is a hard thing for us to see in Huntsville, but we’ve worked too hard to grow this city as a place of respect and opportunity. Let us turn pain into purpose and do the hard work to create meaningful change. We won’t let people and organizations from outside our community turn us against each other. This is a time for us to unite, to protect the city we love and to move forward in a way that is more equitable and just.” – Mayor Tommy Battle