BY VAL GAUGHT
Crossett city officials are calling for change and asking the community to join with them, starting with a prayer vigil.
Mayor Crystal Marshall said Tuesday that while the city was still working on the final details of the event, she wanted to start spreading the word of a vigil being hosted in light of recent events around the nation.
“In recognition of the pain in our hearts, we are hosting a community wide fellowship vigil in honor of Mr. George Floyd,” Marshall said. “We are encouraging the community to come together for food, fellowship, and a moment of silence for Mr. Floyd.”
Floyd was a man who died after several Minneapolis police officers held him down as one braced his knee against Floyd’s neck. Protests in Minneapolis and around the nation followed, some of which have resulted in chaos as protests turned into riots.
In some instances, third parties not related to the protests have exploited their presence to try to cause friction or to commit criminal acts. In other instances, the police have appeared to respond with force on otherwise apparently peaceful crowds.
In Little Rock, five people were arrested Monday night when they began to destroy property, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. All five were Arkansas residents.
Southern Arkansas has remained peaceful. A small group picketed outside the Crossett Police Department earlier this week.
The Crossett event will be on the lawn of the Crossett Police Station. Marshall said she chose the location to show that the Crossett Government and Crossett Police want to join in the stand against police brutality and social injustice.
“We want our city to come together and support the movement for change, so please join us as we stand together to remember and honor the life of George Floyd,” Marshall said.
Police Chief JW Cruce said it is important the residents of the community know where he stands and that he, and his staff, support the movement for change.
“I can’t promise that nothing like that will ever again, but what I can promise is to stand with you if it does, to call out the officers who are in the wrong, and to help fight for change,” Cruce said.
Marshall said that she hopes the event will truly demonstrate to the community that the city officials support the movement for change and she hopes this event will help bring the city forward.
“May his memory remind us that to truly move forward we must do so together by bridging this gap in our society,” she said.
Marshall and other volunteers who are helping her organize this project have arranged for pastors to speak and share words of hope and prayer.
The event will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday on the lawn in front of the Crossett Police Station.
State legislators, law enforcement leaders and city officials are all scheduled to attend.
Hot dogs will be served and a limited number of masks will be available.