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Whitmer, Gilchrist ask for calm, patience amid anger following death of George Floyd

Garlin Gilchrist
Facebook video screengrab

Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a video statement Sunday in response to demonstrations across Michigan over the weekend against police brutality.

Whitmer was joined on the video by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. They both said anger over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is justified. But they asked people to find non-violent ways to express their frustration.

Whitmer also blamed most of the violence, vandalism, and arson in Detroit and Grand Rapids on people who don’t live in those cities.

“They’ll leave the community they say they are supporting. They’ll go home. And it will be black businesses and communities that will be destroyed in their wake,” she said.

Gilchrist asked people angered by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis to find non-violent ways to protest.

“The pain is real. Relief will not come from smashing windows. Relief will not come from tweets alone. Relief will not come from dropping our guard in this pandemic, as tempting as it is,” he said.

Pictures and videos show some protesters and rioters not taking safety precautions to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Whitmer and Gilchrist also said widespread gatherings threaten to un-do the progress made in slowing the spread of COVID 19.

“The anger is natural and justified. I’m also troubled, as always, the pain of the convergence of these crises – social, political, and health – will be felt by those who can bear it the least,” he said.

The lieutenant governor leads a task force examining the disparate impact of the coronavirus on communities of color.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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