Northam Declares State of Emergency in Virginia After ‘Escalating Violence'

Photo by RYAN M. KELLY/AFP via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Sunday in response to "escalating violence across the Commonwealth," allowing cities and counties more resources if there is another night of protests.

“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe," Northam said in a release. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”

The state of emergency allows the Virginia National Guard to assist police in their efforts to de-escalate violent protests. It also allocates $350,000 for state and local governments and state response and recovery operations authorized and coordinated through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Outraged protesters have demonstrated for days in cities across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck.

Four Prince William County police officers were injured during protests along Sudley Road in Manassas Saturday. Protests started peacefully, but grew more tense as the night went on. Several businesses were damaged and police arrested five people. They expect more protests Sunday night.

Two nights of large protests led to violence, injuries and property damage Richmond. Workers were cleaning up broken glass and other debris Sunday morning.

Confederate monuments have become a target of protesters in Virginia. The headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Richmond also burned for a time and had graffiti scrawled on its exterior.

In D.C., police fired pepper spray at demonstrators near the White House Saturday night and the D.C. National Guard was called in as pockets of violence and vandalism erupted during a second straight night of protests. Protests kicked off for a third day Sunday in D.C.

Northam granted a request from Mayor Levar Stoney to extend a curfew in Richmond.

Richmond's curfew is between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sunday through Wednesday. While the curfew is in effect, people must remain in their homes and may only leave to seek emergency services or travel to and from home, work, or places of worship.

Contact Us