Gainesville Supervisor Addresses Unlawful Assembly in his District

Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland

A Black Lives Matter protest at the intersection of Sudley Road and Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas, Prince William, turned from peaceful to heated with occasions of violence towards officers around dusk, Saturday, May 30.

At that time, Prince William Police declared it an unlawful assembly and they were joined by State Police to disperse the protesters.

Monday, June 1, Gainesville Supervisor Candland (R) addressed the incident in his email newsletter.

Candland’s Letter: 

Dear Friends,

The civil unrest resulting from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has justifiably sparked the frustrations of many in our community because of the senseless use of excessive force by law enforcement personnel against a man of color. I personally feel deep resentment that any person apprehended in the course of an investigation would be treated in such a horrific and inhumane manner. No justification exists for the prosecution of any personal racial bias by a law enforcement official against a person of color. NONE! Those responsible should be prosecuted.

I think every decent person supports the non-violent protests that are placing a needed focus on the racism and bias that apparently resides in some sectors of the law enforcement community against minorities. We are a nation of laws, and we respect the rights bestowed by the US Constitution to peaceably express our views on any subject, including the shocking conduct by a law enforcement officer in the death of George Floyd.

While the ability to protest is critical in our democracy, there is no room for protests that turn to violent, assaulting law enforcement officials, rioting, looting, destruction of public property, destruction of local businesses in the community, including minority-owned businesses. These protests should be rejected, and those responsible should be prosecuted.

No community is immune to people who use these peaceful protests to project harm. Sadly, we saw the effects of that nefarious activity right here in Prince William County where last night a peaceful act of civil disobedience in the Gainesville District turned into a violent confrontation resulting in substantial property damage, injured police officers, and putting innocent citizens at risk who unfortunately were in the area.

The Police ended up deploying chemical agents and rubber bullets to disperse several violent participants. Police reported that businesses were vandalized and individuals who were innocently in the area were put in danger. Four officers of the Virginia State Police were injured during this mayhem and several police vehicles were damaged from projectiles thrown at them.

I spent most of the morning and afternoon visiting the site of the protest and talking with business owners and people who live in that area of the Gainesville District. They are worried that more riots will come and the violence might impact them further.

Many of our small businesses are already on the ropes due to the COVID-19 crisis. Our community now faces the likely prospect of additional damage, employees being afraid of coming into work, and — based on what I have personally seen in the media — could destroy these businesses for good.

The Police have also confirmed that demonstrations are planned in Gainesville and other areas in the upcoming days. You have my commitment that I will do whatever I can to allow people to safely demonstrate, while protecting our citizens, public safety personnel and businesses.

Sincerely,

Pete Candland, Supervisor
Gainesville Magisterial District

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