Florence Mayor Wukela addresses recent unrest seen across nation

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Florence mayor Stephen Wukela held a news conference Sunday in response to the death of George Floyd and the growing unrest that’s followed.

“This horrific act like many others before it, occurred in an environment in our nation where violence and hatred – often against minorities – which was previously confined to the shadows has been welcomed into the light by those – many of which are at the highest levels of our society,” the mayor said.

Wukela said that he wants to see protests be peaceful and non-violent.

“I am as angry as everyone else is about the death of George Floyd,” he said. “As we saw in Columbia, it was a very peaceful protest in the afternoon. It was integrated. It was peaceful. It was moving. It ended with amazing grace. And then that evening, the violence began.”

The mayor said the city has worked hard to build relationships and bring the community forward, and says it won’t “lose that to outside folks that want to spread hatred.”

The mayor added that the police department has been on standby and has more than adequate manpower. He said though that Florence officers have “always been cautious to de-escalate situations” and have no “interest in arresting people.”

“We can only have justice when our nation learns – as we have here in Florence – that the hard path to justice is through confession and reconciliation and trust. We’ve learned that here. And it is my earnest prayer that the nation will learn that lesson and that we shall never forget.”

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