A meeting of Exeter City Council was started with a message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The authority’s leader Phil Bialyk said ‘silence is compliance’ and that everyone must ‘stand together’ and ‘ensure there is justice for all’ following the death of George Floyd in America.
Cllr Bialyk told the meeting last night (Tuesday): “It is important to take time and pause and reflect on the horrific death of George Floyd and the ongoing global situation.
“On behalf of the city of Exeter, I would like to offer our thoughts to everyone affected by these awful events.
“Exeter is proud to be safe and welcoming and with many vibrant and diverse communities.
“We do not want any form of discrimination, hate speech, or racially-motivated activity, and that is why we stand united with the Black Lives Matters movement.
“This is a time that we should be coming together and I would encourage anyone, regardless of their race, who is upset by what they have seen to use the many avenues open to them, such as signing petitions, helping charities in their communities, and embracing other communities.
“Silence in my view is compliance and we must all stand together to be part of the solution and ensure there is justice for all.
“I would like to think everyone would support us as the city council making the statement this evening.”
The death of Mr Floyd, which has triggered widespread protests across the USA, has been declared a homicide in an official post-mortem examination.
The 46-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest while being restrained by Minneapolis police, the report found.
It listed Mr Floyd’s cause of death on May 25 as ‘cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression’.
A video showing a white police officer continuing to kneel on Mr Floyd’s neck, even after he pleaded he could not breathe, has reignited deep-seated anger over police killings of black Americans.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and will appear in court next week.