Virginia declares state of emergency over protests

Virginia declared a state of emergency on Sunday due to the protests over George Floyd’s death.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed an emergency declaration that allows resources like the Virginia National Guard to become available to localities addressing demonstrations across the state. 

The state of emergency will allocate $350,000 for state and local response through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 

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“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe,” Northam said in a release. “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.” 

The state’s order also extends the city of Richmond’s curfew to last from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday. Under the curfew, people are required to remain home unless seeking emergency attention or traveling to and from home, work or places of worship.

Cities around the country are facing protests with some turning violent against the police's treatment of Floyd, who died while in police custody. 

A former officer knelt on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, in Minneapolis for about nine minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became unresponsive. The officer has since been fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Other states including Minnesota and Georgia have authorized their National Guard to respond to the demonstrations, which have become violent in Minneapolis and Atlanta.  

Several of Virginia’s Confederate monuments were vandalized Saturday into Sunday during the protests, including in Norfolk and Richmond. The United Daughters of the Confederacy’s building located in Virginia endured a fire and graffiti, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In 2017, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for the “Unite the Right” rally, which gathered to protest the proposed removal of a Confederate statue and resulted in one person’s death. 

Northam also signed an emergency declaration in January ahead of a gun rights rally and in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.