On Monday, June 1, 2020, Kent Mayor Dana Ralph released the following statement about the police killing of George Floyd:
What started with a prayer for peace has ended in violence and chaos. George Floyd was a human being, his life mattered, and it was wrongfully taken away from him and his community. America is angry and rightfully so. He should be honored by holding those responsible for his death accountable. I support the rights of individuals to peacefully protest, the act of peaceful protest has changed the course of our Nation over the years. Everyone deserves the right to go home safely without injury – both the protestors and the first responders. Our police department trains extensively, hires the best and brightest and we proactively engage with our community. This combination, has helped prevent the types of issues we have seen occur across the Nation. But I acknowledge, the system is far from perfect. I am committed to standing with our community and working to make it even better, a system that is fair for every resident, a system that serves all equally.
I am also committed to ensuring the safety of our residents, businesses and first responders. When a protest turns into violence and injury to people and property, those who committed those unlawful acts will be held accountable in Kent. Violence, vandalism, targeting businesses and disorderly conduct have always been and will remain illegal within the City of Kent. Our police department is well equipped and prepared to respond to incidents as they arise, and we have available capacity in our jail to take individuals into custody who violate the rule of law.
I challenge all Kent residents to join me in finding a productive way to honor the life and legacy of George Floyd. Whether that is community service, donating to a social justice organization or joining in the conversation around legislative changes – we can be a force for positive change. I know members of our community are hurting – I see and feel your pain when you share your stories with me. I am here, I am committed, I see you and you matter.
– Mayor Dana Ralph