Let me begin by saying thank you to our community for your support of the Santa Rosa Police Department as we work to protect the rights of citizens to lawfully protest and keep our community safe from those who are intent on doing harm. The citywide curfew that took effect last night provided an effective tool to better manage the situation during this time of civil unrest. I appreciate the support of most members of our community who voluntarily complied with the order last night to help keep Santa Rosa safe. I also want to commend our SRPD officers on duty last night, who showed great restraint in addressing a group of up to 250 people, predominately youth, who unlawfully remained in the downtown area after the curfew. Given the young age of most of these individuals, and that it was the first night of the curfew, SRPD officers exercised as much restraint as possible and focused on the most egregious criminal behavior first. Unfortunately, some incidents of violence, vandalism and other illegal issues did occur, including an incident where the temporary barriers that had been placed around Courthouse Square were dismantled. The barriers, which prevented vehicles from entering the area, had been placed there so protesters have safer space for assembly in Courthouse Square. This action highlighted the need to enhance security and maintain safety in the core area of downtown. Therefore, City crews took further action this morning to install concrete barriers to prepare for lawful assemblies planned for the area, potentially this evening and in the days ahead.
As I did yesterday, I will continue to meet with demonstrators to show my support of every citizen’s right to peacefully protest. The recent death of George Floyd has further eroded trust nationwide, and I too am angry and frustrated. But I want to be very clear that violence and destruction will not be tolerated. We need your help – I am asking our community for continued compliance with the curfew order. The support of our Santa Rosa citizens is essential as we strive to protect the rights of those who want to lawfully demonstrate and keep our community safe from those with criminal intent.