Top elected leaders from across the Inland Empire region joined forces on May 29 to support law enforcement and condemn recent acts of violence in response to the death of George Floyd.
“People have the right to protest their concern and anger. Those of you who know me understand that I’ve got your back for standing strong. But our City is not going to tolerate violence against people or property that leads to more pain and more suffering. What happened here cannot happen again,” said Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren, after a peaceful demonstration in the city turned violent on May 28.
Nine people were arrested during the incident after rocks were thrown at police, passing vehicles and windows at the Civic Center and nearby businesses, police said. No injuries were reported.
Warren, who stood alongside the peaceful demonstrators early in the evening, said the crowd “got hijacked by people who decided to throw rocks at innocent drivers and police officers who were simply doing their jobs. I understand the frustration that’s being expressed, but we need to work together toward a peaceful solution.”
The demonstration was one of dozens across the United States following the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old man from Minnesota who was killed Monday after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
“Our community is shocked and outraged at George Floyd’s death and the urgent need for justice in this case,” said Rep. Norma Torres (D-Pomona). “Last night, those passions spilled over in Fontana. Everyone involved has a right to be angry, but channeling that anger to destroy property only harms our own hard-working community members. That is completely unacceptable -- we must demand justice for the Floyd family without bringing violence to our streets.”
“There is a very important message behind this situation that is being overshadowed by these violent acts,” said Curt Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. “We have a strong history of being a strong, resilient and united community here in San Bernardino County. My hope is that we can use those attributes in a positive way while addressing people’s concerns.”
Said Josie Gonzales, vice-chair of the Board of Supervisors: “It is unfortunate that we need to add misbehavior and destruction to what is already a tragedy. In the City of Fontana, we will not compound the situation with injurious behavior. We have worked too hard to build a strong, safe community that all of our residents can call home. It is embarrassing that we continue to have individuals who choose to sully an opportunity to stand strong and instead resort to violence. Attacking police officers and damaging property is not acceptable. We are a community that embraces our diversity and finds strength in treating others with compassion, not violence.”
“Fontana is a welcoming city that celebrates diversity, but Thursday night, we took steps in the wrong direction. We condemn injustice, but we will never condone violence,” said Fontana Mayor Pro Tem Jesse Armandarez.
Another protest was held in Rancho Cucamonga on May 29, and several persons were arrested during that event.