Savannah's Mayor Johnson won't rule out a curfew after Sunday protests

Mayor Van Johnson held a press conference today to address Sunday's anticipated protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“The City of Savannah recognizes as a city that has been here for quite some time that the peaceful ability of citizens to get together and protest," the Mayor said. "It does not say you can’t in the middle of a pandemic. People have a right to do that. We fully support that right. We can insist that it’s done peacefully. We can insist that it’s done in order. And we can insist that it’s done within confines of the law.”

“We will use this march to continue dialogue with our local law enforcement agencies,” he said. “To the residents of Savannah, Chatham County, and the surrounding areas, I’d like to welcome you to Savannah to participate in this peaceful protest.”

Johnson called the death of Floyd “a horrendous act by someone who swore to serve and protect.” He said he understands the outrage people are feeling.

On Friday, a modest group peacefully gathered downtown but a larger protest has been planned on social media. The demonstration is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. in Johnson Square.

The organizer of Sunday’s demonstration claimed to be associated with Black Lives Matter on social media, but no one was able to confirm this. Johnson cleared up some rumors and said that he and SPD learned that the organizer was not actually associated with Black Lives Matter. However, the mayor said Sunday at 2 p.m. in Johnson Square is a great time to come together and peacefully honor Floyd. He said he will be there and extended the invitation to all Savannahians, other City officials, and local faith leaders.

Mayor Johnson has asked the city attorney to prepare an order to institute a curfew and says that he will not hesitate to act.

The protests are part of the nationwide outcry after a video was released of a white Minneapolis Police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man suspected of forgery for eight minutes. That man, George Floyd, later died. Protests across the nation have led to the deployment of the National Guard in larger cities like Portland and Atlanta.

Those protests come in the wake of the killing in Georgia of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot after being pursued by two white men while running in their neighborhood, and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that has thrown millions out of work, killed more than 100,000 people in the U.S.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content