Ahead of Jefferson City protests, Gov. Parson says "violence is not the answer"
JEFFERSON CITY- Hours before the start of scheduled protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the Missouri State Capitol on Monday evening, Missouri Governor Mike Parson discussed the protests at a press conference.
Parson said he supports the protesters right to peacefully protest, but says violence and destruction is not the answer.
"It does not help us achieve justice or peace, instead, it terrorizes innocent people and families, destroys our communities and creates more anger and pain," he said.
"Every citizen deserves to be safe and protected and to change things we must not tear each other down."
Parson said he was saddened by the violence that occurred at some protests in the St. Louis and Kansas City area over the weekend.
"An element seized on these peaceful demonstrations to commit violent acts and endanger the lives of citizens and bring destruction to our communities," he said. "It drowns out the voices of the peaceful demonstrators calling for justice and working to improve our nation."
On Saturday, Parson signed an executive order to declare a State of Emergency in Missouri because of the civil unrest over the weekend. He activated the Missouri National Guard to assist local authorities and protect citizens from violence and property damage.
Parson said he is confident that National Guard and Highway Patrol leaders will make the right call.
According to Facebook, there are multiple protests over Floyd's death scheduled to take place at the capitol on Monday. The first is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
Parson, who himself is a former Sheriff, was asked whether he feels there is a systemic problem between police and African-Americans.
"I think 99% of the law enforcement officers are out there, at least are doing their jobs, doing what they're supposed to be doing, is there bad actors out there? Yes," he said. "Just like any other profession, sometimes you'll get people that take advantage of an oath that they should have never taken advantage of, but that's all that's up to us to clean it up."
While state officials say they expect the protests at the capitol to be peaceful, they closed all state office buildings at 3:00 p.m. Monday out of an abundance of caution.