Delaware State Police issued the following statement as sometimes violent protests continued throughout the nation following the death of George Floyd.
Floyd died after a Minneapolis Police officer kneeled on his neck as fellow officers looked on. All four officers were fired, with the officer holding Floyd down charged with murder, but not in the first degree.
State Police were involved in a Wilmington demonstration Saturday that blocked I-95 through the city, with protesters reportedly dispersing after troopers put away their long guns.
Protests turned violent later in the night with looting along Market Street.
Police around the nation have come under criticism for using excessive force in dealing with protesters. Philadelphia ordered a 6 p.m. curfew as looting continued on Sunday.
The State Police statement is as follows:
In light of the recent tragedy and current events that have struck our nation, the Delaware State Police remain committed to our mission to serve and protect our citizens.
With protests occurring throughout the United States, we understand that many of our citizens here in Delaware also want to exercise their 1stAmendment Right and have their voices heard to include the right to peaceably assemble. Our goal is to allow our citizens to protest as safely as possible, while we protect individuals as well as public and private property.
The Delaware State Police will continue to do our part and see that these protests remain peaceful. Over the past several days, some peaceful demonstrations in cities across the country have turned violent. We are asking our citizens to do their part in helping us protect our communities by refraining from violence. We also ask our citizens to report any suspicious activity and if they witness a crime to call their local police department, Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, the Anti-Terrorism Tip Line at 1-800-FORCE-12, or in the event of an emergency 9-1-1.
We would also like to remind our citizens of the COVID-19 that continues to impact our nation. These protests are likely to draw large crowds and we ask that you exercise the social distancing guidelines as well as the wearing of face masks.
The safety of our citizens will remain our top priority while we continue to be committed to keeping Delaware safe.