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Governor Declares State of Emergency in Response to Escalating Violence

Citizen video shows officers standing shoulder to shoulder wearing shields around 10:30 p.m., May 30 at the Sudley Road assembly.

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today declared a state of emergency and authorized assistance to localities in response to escalating violence across the Commonwealth. The Governor granted a request from Mayor Levar Stoney to extend a curfew in the City of Richmond.

“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe, said Governor Northam. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”

A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources, including the Virginia National Guard, and pre-position people and equipment to assist localities in their efforts to de-escalate violent protests and protect public safety.

The declaration allocates $350,000 for state and local governments and state response and recovery operations authorized and coordinated through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

The order extends a curfew in the City of Richmond between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sunday, May 31, 2020 through Wednesday, June 3, 2020. While the curfew is in effect, people must remain in their homes and may only leave to seek emergency services or travel to and from home, work, or places of worship.

The full text of the emergency declaration can be found here.

Prince William County

At a special emergency meeting, May 31 at 4 p.m., Prince William County Board of Supervisors discussed the option to declare a county-wide state of emergency. Supervisors agreed they do not want the Virginia National Guard to come into the county, they already have the assistance of the Virginia State Police, but they would like to access funding if necessary.

Lt. Col. Jarad Phelps said there were costs associated with the protest that turned to a “civil unrest” and “unlawful assembly” on Sudley Road in Manassas, Saturday night. They include overtime for officers and damage to police vehicles. Therefore, having a local State of Emergency could be useful for fiscal reasons.

Supervisors wanted to make sure that calling a county-wide state of emergency would not increase  police presence by calling in the National Guard or conducting things in a matter that could escalate tensions.

The county executive would have to call at county State of Emergency that would then be approved by the board. The County also could not implement a curfew without the approval of the Governor as per Virginia law.

No decision has been made as whether to place the county under a State of Emergency, but County Executive Chris Martino agreed to further look into the matter. It will be added to Tuesday’s agenda, unless a reason arises to act more expediently.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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