Over the weekend in Kansas City, large crowds of people gathered together to protest the death of George Floyd and police brutality towards African Americans. Although the protests started peacefully on both Saturday and Sunday, there were several altercations between protesters and police officers as well as the vandalism of several vehicles and buildings. This lead to the arrest of nearly a hundred people over the weekend.
Following these protests, Kansas City’s own Mayor Quinton Lucas sat down for a conversation Monday morning with MSNBC’s Ari Melber to talk about how he has been handling the situation.
When Melber asked Mayor Lucas about the difficulty of balancing his identity as a Black man and his role as mayor, he responded: “It’s actually been a little more difficult than almost anything I’ve dealt with so far in politics, and the reason for that is when I saw the video out of Minneapolis, I felt pain.”
Mayor Lucas cited his memory of watching the beating of Rodney King as a child and how he was confused about why the officers responsible were not held accountable. He finished this thought by saying, “Here it is, 20 years later, and we’re still seeing the same thing.”
Mayor Lucas thanked Kansas City police officers later in the interview, saying they “worked long hours yesterday, all weekend, to make sure that people had a right to protest, a right to speak.” He went on to say that “You cannot let . . . the actions of one distort our view of American policing on the whole, [and] the police officers shouldn’t do the opposite. Yesterday, in Kansas City, there were thousands of people that came out to make their voices heard, to speak peacefully, to try to actually share a message that needs to be amplified.”
He continued by stating, “And we also know that in my city, there were a few hundred fools who wanted to burn cars [and] who wanted to loot. . . That is not what this message is about; that’s not what this moment is about.”
While the future of the protests in Kansas City is unclear right now, Mayor Lucas remains confident that America, as a country, will figure this out. He says, “We just need to make sure we remember the life of George [Floyd] and make sure more than anything, that we can make our communities safe for all people”.
The full interview between Ari Melber and Mayor Lucas is below.