ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Protests continue in the St. Louis area over the death of George Floyd.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page joined Today in St. Louis for an interview Monday to talk about Floyd’s death and protests in the area.
“I think first it’s important to recognize the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has galvanized our country and our community and has really brought to the forefront the challenges of equity and racism that we’ve struggled with for generations,” Page said.
Protests happened in Ferguson, downtown St. Louis and outside of the Galleria over the weekend.
“We have to recognize that people in our community and our country will be mourning, grieving. The protests we saw on Saturday afternoon were an example of that.”
Page said he hears the concerns of the protesters.
“We first have to recognize that the concerns that we heard from the protesters on Saturday afternoon are legitimate concerns that we have to deal with as a community and a country. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us to address these questions of equity across all complex policy questions in front of us – not just the relationship between law enforcement and our citizens.”
Page emphasized that people need to understand and listen to what we’re hearing across the country.
“But I think we have to understand and respect – and those of us that can’t walk in the shoes of a black man need to step back and understand and listen to what we’re hearing. It’s very important to understand where people are coming from and the grieving and mourning that’s going on in our country right now.”
The protests come as the St. Louis area is still reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Page said certainly any civil unrest is a challenge for us, but this is an opportunity for us to stop and recognize what people are saying.
“We need to be listening to this conversation. We also need to recognize what’s happening after dark in our community is not an acceptable way to communicate concerns and unfortunately what’s happening at night – the violence and riots in Ferguson – is a different group of people altogether with a completely different agenda,” Page said.
Photos: Protests in Ferguson over George Floyd death
The county executive also wanted to remind people to wear a mask and practice social distancing at gatherings.
“I would just ask those who are out protesting to wear a mask, remember social distancing – we saw a lot of that on Saturday – and we recognize the right of people to assemble, the right to express their opinions and I would ask everyone doing that to do so safely.”
“Wear a mask and remember social distancing because COVID-19 is still here and still will spread in our community if we don’t take precautions with the public health orders and our guidelines on social mixing,” he said.