HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — 15 Huntsville-area groups signed on to a response to Mayor Tommy Battle's statement after Wednesday night's protest in downtown Huntsville, which ended with the arrests of 24 people and law enforcement use of chemical agents and rubber bullets to attempt to disperse the crowd.
The statement reads as follows:
Joint Response to Mayor Battle’s Statement on Wednesday’s Peaceful Protest:
June 5, 2020- Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle released an official statement on Thursday about the peaceful protest events downtown on Wednesday evening .Once again, he offers vague platitudes rather than the firm steps toward justice that are needed.
Here is what Mayor Battle’s statement does:
•Battle opens and closes his statement with vague and positive sentiment about “justice”. This is better than nothing but not much.
•Mayor Battle calls hundreds of peaceful protestors, in effect, outside agitators. They are “not of part of our community,” he says. That is throwback language from the segregationist days. Mayor Battle doesn’t get to decide who is part of the community. And that statement is beyond insulting to the majority-black protesters who led the march. Even Huntsville Police Department leadership has acknowledged that the two-dozen protesters arrested were from the local area and that none were charged with assault or property crimes.
Here is what Mayor Battle’s statement fails to do:
•The mayor does not explain why the police were dressed and armed for a riot before any peaceful protesters even arrived on the scene. Further, if he knew his police force were prepared for a violent confrontation at the courthouse, why did he not warn the protesters, who obviously wanted to march there, when he addressed the rally in Big Spring Park? Why did he not warn people what was waiting for them up the hill?
•Mayor Battle’s statement ends without offering a single proposal, a single idea, or a single response to proposals the community has raised.
At such a critical time, we need leaders to display levelheaded perspective and take action for the common good. Mayor Tommy Battle is failing to meet the moment. His statement and his leadership fall short.
NAACP –Youth and College Division of Alabama
United Women of Color
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Huntsville
Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance
Racial Equality Action Committee of Huntsville (REACHsv)
Blacks Against Systemic Oppression (BASO)
Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)Huntsville Branch
Campaign to Elect Andy Woloszyn for Mayor
Greater Huntsville Democrats
Libertarian Party of Madison County
North Alabama Peace Network
Industrial Workers of the World(IWW): Huntsville General Membership Branch
North Alabama School for Organizers
Valley Labor Report