Kent Mayor Dana Ralph released the following statement Monday afternoon, June 1, on recent events across the nation and locally:
“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 protesters 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.”
No looters in Kent, small protest
So far, Kent has not had large protests or looters such as in Seattle, Bellevue, Tukwila and smaller incidents in Renton, Federal Way and Auburn.
A small, peaceful protest happened on Sunday, May 31, in Kent, according to a city staff Facebook post. No protests are scheduled for Monday in Kent, according to city staff. The city has not issued a curfew.
On Monday afternoon, June 1, King County officials closed the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent as a public safety precaution in case protesters show up at the facility, according to a King County Superior Court tweet. The county also closed King County Superior Court in the downtown Seattle courthouse, Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) Court and the Children and Family Justice Center for safety reasons.