OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Governor Kevin Stitt is speaking out after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, leading to protests across the country, including in Oklahoma.
Floyd, a black man, died last week after a white Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
Chauvin, one of four officers fired after Floyd’s death, was arrested and charged with murder on Friday.
On Sunday, Stitt posted on Facebook saying:
“Oklahomans stand together for justice. Like many of you, I am thankful the Minneapolis police officer is being held accountable for the senseless death of George Floyd.
As Oklahomans let their voices be heard, know that I will protect and support your right for peaceful demonstration. Also know this is different from acting out in a way that is violent and damaging property – the State will also support local law enforcement who are respectfully working to stop criminal activity.
Let’s demonstrate the Oklahoma Standard by listening to those who are hurting, by uniting to see change that delivers a better future for all, and by being respectful of each other, our police and our first responders.”
Stitt released the following statement on Monday in an email to KFOR:
“Yesterday’s demonstrations contained many powerful moments of Oklahomans coming together to make their voices heard and express their First Amendment rights safely. As many of the leaders of yesterday’s events have echoed, things started to change after the organized demonstration ended. I will continue to stand with Oklahomans who choose to peacefully demonstrate, but we cannot stand for violence or damage to property.
At the request of local communities, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the National Guard have been authorized to provide support as needed. These hardworking Oklahomans are our friends and neighbors who step up in times of need, including to protect peaceful demonstrators. Violence and damage to property goes against the Oklahoma Standard and is a distraction designed to keep us from uniting together to change for the better.”
Stitt has not spoken publicly regarding protests in the state.