by Robin Kemp

Clayton County residents have plenty to say about the protests in Atlanta demanding justice for George Floyd, as well as suspects who law enforcement officials allege came from other parts of the country to hijack the peaceful protests.

We’ll add more reactions here as we get them.

Chairman Jeffrey Turner

“As chairman of Clayton County, I publicly condemn the actions of the officers in Minnesota that led to the death of George Floyd and I pray that justice prevails. Clayton County stands with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as she fights to restore order in the City of Atlanta and will continue to commit resources until there is a peaceful resolution.”

Morrow Police Chief James Callaway

“All the cops I know condemn what took place. We need an honest media to tell real truth and I support the First Amendment protecting the press. We also support free speech and the right to protest. However, we strongly condemn violence and property damage.”

Forest Park Mayor Angelyne Butler

“It is in the midst and aftermath of those acts, for those of us who love and value justice, not (to) be silent! Because silence implies tolerance and complicity. As a daughter, sister, mother, and as someone who just like you was made in the image of GOD, my heart is broken. These actions should never happen in this country!”

Clayton County GOP Chair Garrett Ashley

“I and the Clayton County GOP understand and support peaceful protests. Lives are not a plaything for any group or agency, and the police are no exception. We believe in the rule of law, and killing without due process and outside of self defense is a heinous and reprehensible act. Looting and rioting are not constitutionally protected forms of speech and should not be used to effect substantive change. Rather, anyone truly aiming for police accountability should turn to the ballot box. We need to elect mayors, commissioners, sheriffs, district attorneys and judges who truly stand for equality under the law. Only then can liberty and justice be celebrated by all.”

State Rep. Sandra G. Scott (D-76)

“As a member of the Georgia General Assembly, we’re going to do everything in our power to make a difference. We have the hate crime bill that is on the table, HB426, and when we return to session, we’re looking forward to that being passed. But let me say, that is just the beginning. That is the beginning. We are your policymakers. We are your voices down at the General Assembly. You all voted for us to make a difference. Yes, we have a lot of work to do. But I can promise you that, over this summer, we’re going to work on legislation that’s going to bring about a change and bring about a difference.”

History Professor Dr. Jelani Favors, Clayton State University

“What we currently observe unfolding in our streets is the harvest of what we as a nation have sown for over four centuries. We can no longer cling to the myths of who we are as a nation but boldly address the deep scars of our past and the open wounds of our present. White supremacy is a cancer. We cannot ignore it. We cannot wish it away. We cannot heal it through social media posts or superficial gestures of good will. We must deliberately root it out of our social, political, and economic institutions. Our failure to do so in the past is what has led us to this very moment, and continued inaction will surely unleash explosive anger and frustration, both in the present and in the future. The American novelist James Baldwin prophetically reminds us, ‘We will live here together, or we will die here together. And it’s not I who is telling you. Time is telling you. You will listen or you will perish.'”

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